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The transformation of Metro Manila in the time of COVID-19

More and more, President Duterte is giving the uniformed personnel a bigger role in the implementation of the Luzon-wide lockdown he imposed beginning March 16 to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that has rampaging in all parts of the world claiming lives of hundreds of thousands. In the Philippines, thousands have been afflicted. While over 600 have recovered, more than 500 have died.

The reactions to the high-profile presence of the members of Philippine National Police complete with trucks and even a tank in the streets of Metro Manila are mixed. Some felt protected, while others are intimidated.

The transformation of Metro Manila in the time of COVID-19 by Luis Liwanag from VERA Files on Vimeo.

Photojournalist Luis Liwanag covered the deployment of PNP’s elite Special Action Force in densely populated Blumentritt street in Sta. Cruz district in Metro Manila Wednesday (April 23) morning led by no less than Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the joint task force COVID-19 shield.

The mission of the PNP’s SAF is “To conduct operations as a Rapid Deployment Force anywhere in the country specifically in situations with national and international implications in the areas of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, hostage rescue, search and rescue, civil disturbance management and other special operations.

One of the general principles that guide the PNP’s operations states: All personnel shall respect the human rights and dignity of the suspects during police operations.”