MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed a Philippine Air Force (PAF) document circulating online advising its personnel to prepare for the possible implementation of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine measures as earlier warned by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The memorandum dated April 17 directed unit commanders to prepare for strict implementation of a possible extensive enhanced community quarantine.
The memo further stated that the AFP will be the over all in-charge of roads and highways.
It also stated the need to request for a briefing from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the legal and safety measures in dealing and engaging with pedestrians and motorists.
The memo leaked online a day after the president threatened to impose a ‘martial law-like’ crackdown following reports of increased public violation of quarantine protocols.
In a statement on Sunday, PAF spokesperson Aristides Galang Jr. said the internal memo was merely a preparatory move for the troops as normally done by the organization.
“The PAF is just anticipating of any scenarios in case the President, as Commander in Chief of the AFP, would decide to implement his statements lately to the public as earlier stated and prepare our troops in advance as normally done by the military organization in the past,” he said.
AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo also defended the order, saying this was just issued for the purpose of providing advance information to guide its personnel.
Arevalo assured that there is no reason to be alarmed over the order as it is just a “normal reaction” of the AFP to prepare and deploy when it becomes necessary.
“What we should all be alarmed about instead is the fact that a lot of people are blatantly violating the law and disobeying the rules and health protocols which MUST be strictly enforced —otherwise people die,” he said in a statement.
“Law-abiding citizens and those who follow the rules should not worry. There is no reason to be alarmed,” he added.
Based on the report from the PNP, around 130,177 quarantine violators have been apprehended from March 17 to April 18. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)