MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that the government may implement stricter measures against people disregarding health and quarantine protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his weekly public address on Monday night, Duterte said the government might “calibrate” its response to address violations of quarantine and health protocols especially in Visayas and Midanao areas.
He, however, did not specify which measure will be tweaked to deal with the matter.
“We might calibrate our response to the intransigence that you will show. Depende sa ano ninyo. Kung talagang ayaw ninyong sumunod, then we can go into marami, marami. I could… Ayaw ko lang sabihin but we have the power to control it actually kung ginusto lang namin pahirapan ang tao,” he said.
He said that for as long as Filipinos do not comply with the protocols prescribed by the government, many people will continue to get infected with COVID-19.
The government put Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ in March to mid-May due to increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The restrictions were eventually downgraded to a general community quarantine (GCQ) after National Capital Region saw a drop in cases.
Despite the decrease in the number of cases, the country continues to record new infections of around 6,000 to 7,000, with health officials attributing the spike to the higher cases logged in parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported filing cases against six barangay officials who failed to prevent super spreader events in their jurisdictions.
In his report to the president during the televised briefing, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said those facing charges were village chiefs from Caloocan City, Navotas City, Tondo, Manila, Norzagaray, Bulacan, Malay, Aklan, and Cebu City.
The President has previously ordered the arrest of barangay captains in case mass gatherings happened in their jurisdictions, saying it is a dereliction of duty.