PH military confirms preparations for possible enforcement of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine
Robie de Guzman • April 20, 2020 • 510
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)
Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda warned of reverting the province to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise.
“Tumaas po ang mga kaso natin. I have no choice kung hindi ibalik sa GCQ ito o ECQ kung aabot tayo sa worst situation (Cases in our province increased. I have no choice but to revert to GCQor ECQ if the situation worsens),” he said.
After the province was placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on June 15, new COVID-19 cases went up by 25. As of July 7, according to the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, there are 166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Pampanga, with 100 recoveries and 16 deaths.
Only Arayat and Masantol, Pampanga remain COVID-19-free, the Pampanga governor said. He reminds residents to only leave the house if necessary.
“Hindi po sinasabi ng MGCQ na libre kayo na makipagkwentuhan sa ibang lugar (Just because it’s MGCQ, it doesn’t mean you are free to meet up in other places),” he said.
Barangay Capalangan and Sulipan in Apalit are currently under hard lockdown until July 16 due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)
MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila may return to stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation worsens in the capital region.
In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government may possibly reimpose ECQ on Metro Manila if hospitals in the region hit maximum capacity due to surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Pag lumala talaga, at mawalan tayo ng critical care capacity o di kaya ay case doubling rate ay bumalik sa dati na napakabilis, wala po tayong alternatibo,” he said.
“Yun nga po ang pinapakiusap sa ating kababayan, pag tayo bumalik sa mas estriktong quarantine, baka wala na po tayong hanapbuhay na pwedeng gawin,” he added.
Roque issued the statement after the country recorded a record-high 2,434 additional cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 44,254. Most of these infections were reported in Metro Manila.
Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine where public transport and some business sectors have been allowed to resume operations at a limited capacity.
It was previously placed under ECQ for more than two months.
The Department of Health earlier said that the spike in infections was due to increased physical contact of the public following the easing of quarantine restrictions.
But Roque said the government had no choice but to loosen the quarantine measures in order to revitalize the economy.
“Wala naman tayong alternatibo kundi magbukas ng ekonomiya… Kung di pa po natin mabubuksan, mamya buhay nga tayo, mamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay,” he said.
The Palace official, meanwhile, belied reports that hospitals in Metro Manila have reached full capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Roque said that as of July 5, Metro Manila’s critical care utilization is still at 63 percent or moderate risk level.
He also clarified that many hospitals have yet to breach the 30 percent hospital bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
“Nililinaw po namin na yung mga kumakalat na fake news na ubos na raw po ang hospital beds sa ating mga ospital, di po yan totoo,” he said.
Roque also revealed that Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has been designated to head the Hospital One Incident Command which will determine the critical care utilization and hospital care capacity rate. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.
Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.
The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.
“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.
Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.
He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.
The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.
“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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