MANILA — Amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday emphasized the need to continue the crackdown on quarantine violators to teach them a lesson. Duterte issued the statement as he instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be stricter against people who will defy the health and quarantine rules being imposed by the government to contain Covid-19.
In a taped public address aired on state-run PTV-4, Duterte said arresting quarantine violators would give them “a lesson for all time”.
“You have to ask the police to be [stricter]. So hulihin talaga (arrest quarantine violators). A little shame would put them on notice forever. Sino ba naman ang gustong mahuli ka (Who would want to get arrested)?” Duterte said.
Duterte’s remarks came after Interior Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño on July 17 proposed “shame campaign” against quarantine violators, including those who refuse to wear face masks and observe social distancing and other health protocols against Covid-19.
Malacañan on Tuesday rejected Diño’s proposal as it would violate the Data Privacy Act which protects an individual’s personal information. Duterte said the PNP should arrest people who violate quarantine protocols in order to protect others who are heeding the government’s call to stay home to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.
“We don’t have any qualms in arresting people,” he said. “A simple violation of not wearing a mask and [observing] social distancing … can be a serious crime transmitting the [virus]. The theory is that you are a carrier. You should wear a mask so as not to pass on the [virus] to the other guys.”
Duterte said he “hates” ordering the police to arrest quarantine violators, but believes that is the only way to compel them to follow the quarantine protocols against Covid-19.
“You ask the police to function the way they should in times like this,” he said.
Mayors need to ‘do more’
Duterte also told mayors to perform better to make sure that their constituents are protected against Covid-19. “The mayors have to do more. They have to do more. They have to take care [of their constituents],” he said.
He made the call, as he stressed that the country would only be successful in defeating Covid-19 once everyone cooperates with the government.
“There is no other way that we can prevent [Covid-19] from transferring from one person to the other, unless we obey,” Duterte said. “You want [Covid-19] slow down or stop? Wear a mask or do not go out of the house if you do not want to wear mask. ‘Yun lang. At saka ‘yung social distancing (That’s it. And observe social distancing).”
As of Monday, the Philippines has logged a total of 68,898 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 23,072 recoveries and 1,835 deaths. (PNA)
On photo: CURFEW VIOLATORS. Those caught outside of their homes beyond the curfew hours are gathered by the Iloilo City Police Office in La Paz district in this photo taken last April. Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Philippine National Police to be stricter against people who will defy the health and quarantine rules imposed by the government to contain Covid-19. Photo courtesy of ICPO-La Paz.