President Duterte issues stern warning
President Duterte says he will not waver to use force to ensure order
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not have second thoughts on using force to restore order should people consider riots and defy government-imposed quarantine measures in its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In another late-night address on national television Wednesday, President Duterte ordered his police to protect medical frontliners, from doctors to nurses and non-medical staff from violent persons who have doused chemicals and possible lethal substances in their fear of the virus.
“My orders are for the police, the military and village officials, in case there’s trouble and there’s an occasion where they fight and your life is threatened, shoot them dead,” he said as he described the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines “is getting worse.”
This was his reaction to a rally by informal settlers in Quezon City yesterday morning where the police arrested 21 of them residing in a shanty town beside a posh mall and hotel complex.
The rally took place a day after President Duterte assured the general public of food and financial assistance to the unemployed and poor people severely affected by the lockdown. The president delivered his address late Monday night.
President Duterte said he has transferred the responsibility of the delivering cash and food assistance from local political leaders to avoid patronage to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to take charge.
In a briefing Thursday morning, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexie Nograles said there have been 2,311 COVID-19 positive cases which has claimed the lives of 96 persons, including several doctors and other medical and non-medical frontliners while 50 have fully recovered. (Melo M. Acuña)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. (Screen grab from RTVM)