Duterte threatens to impose ‘martial law-like’ measures if quarantine violators persist

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to impose a more drastic measure particularly against violators of the government’s lockdown rules as cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to climb in the country.

In his late-night address on Thursday (April 16), the President warned of military and police take over if Filipinos continue to break the government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

I am just asking for your disiplina, kasi kapag ayaw ninyong maniwala, mag-take over ang military at police (I am just asking for your discipline because if you do not obey, the military and police will take over). I am ordering them now to be ready,” the President said addressing quarantine violators.

Sila na, parang martial law na rin. Mamili kayo (They will take over like in martial law. You decide),” he added.

The President expressed frustration over reports of residents repeatedly violating quarantine rules despite the government’s efforts in providing social relief at this time of crisis.

Nearly two weeks before the extended Luzon-wide ECQ is lifted on April 30, President Duterte said he will be compelled to order the government forces to enforce strict social distancing and curfew measures if the number of quarantine violators continue to increase.

“Ayaw ko pero kapag naipit na ang bayan at wala kayong disiplina, (I don’t want to do it but if the entire country is compromised because you lack discipline),” he warned.

The Chief Executive also directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to investigate the perpetrators of cockfighting and street drinking sessions in Metro Manila amid the ECQ.

He threatened to cut government aid to those who would further ignore ECQ measures.

 “May pera pala kayong pangsabong. May pera pala kayo pang-inom. Ibigay ko na lang (sa iba,) [You have money for cockfighting. You have money for drinking sessions, so I might as well give the money [to those in need,] ” the President said.

“There’s not enough to go around. Hindi talaga magkasya. We are getting low sa supply ng pagkain na. Ilang araw na iyan buong Pilipinas pinapakain mo – 18 million families (Our supply especially of food is getting lower. We have been feeding 18 millione Filipino families for days now],” he concluded. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

READ: Duterte warns unruly quarantine violators not to taunt gov’t amid relief delays

PSG now requiring COVID-19 rapid testing before meeting with Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Security Group (PSG) is now requiring everyone who goes near President Rodrigo Duterte to undergo a rapid testing to detect novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as part of its security measures.

In a statement issued Wednesday, PSG Commander Col. Jesus Durante said the COVID-19 rapid testing is part of its regular screening procedures being required for anyone who seeks to meet with Duterte.

“The procedure exempts nobody and is even administered to high-ranking government officials, PSG troopers, and close-in personnel who always accompany the president,” Durante said.

“This is in addition to existing medical assessments and stringent measures being enforced by PSG in order to ensure the safety and good health of the President,” he added.

Durante said the rapid tests are administered by PSG Task Force COVID-19 medical team, and is different from the Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test kits administered by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and its affiliates.

“Those found positive during the rapid tests will not be allowed to enter the facility. Much more if the concerned party manifests fever and other symptoms related to COVID-19,” he said.

The PSG chief, however, said that the COVID-19 rapid test results are not definite, and are still subject for confirmation.

“PSG does not claim that the results of the rapid tests are definite and absolute. It is still subject for confirmation thru RT-PCR tests administered by RITM,” he said.

The rapid testing requirement is the latest security measure imposed by the PSG following its enforcement of “no touch policy” on President Duterte.

It previously required all visitors to Malacañang to fill-out a form declaring some personal and health information before they are allowed entry into the Palace grounds. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Presidential yacht ready to accept COVID-19 patients

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 13, 2020

The Presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulo is now ready to accept coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients after its conversion into a floating quarantine facility.

The Philippine Navy (PN) said it can accommodate a total of 28 patients with five medical personnel.

“Three exclusive compartments were prepared by PN personnel for the patients with temporary division in place observing 3-meter distance between them. Patients and medical staff are given different access points,” their statement reads.

The Navy added that the crew will remain onboard while the ship is being utilized as a quarantine facility.

PPEs were provided for the crew and rapid antibody tests were also conducted on them.

The ship’s remodeling began 48 hours after President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to utilize the ship for COVID-19 patients. AAC

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