Duterte warns public on NPA amid pandemic, no updates on quarantine guidelines
The president failed to provide updates on the community quarantine
May 12, 2020
President Rodrigo Duterte broadcasted an address to the nation early this morning, May 12, to discuss updates on community quarantine measures. Instead, the president warned citizens of the New People’s Army (NPA) and their efforts to harm the government’s soldiers.
After appointing female soldiers to distribute cash aid amid COVID-19, he stated that he does not want his soldiers to be killed by the NPA amid COVID-19 relief efforts.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the Filipino people after convening the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting where the latest updates and recommendations on either lifting or extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in several areas throughout the country due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been discussed.The President calls on the public to observe and make the necessary adjustments for the ‘new normal’ as the threat of COVID-19 continues to disrupt the health and safety of the Filipinos. He advises everyone to always practice social distancing, observe proper hygiene and regularly wear face mask.#HealAsOne#2020DuterteVision#DuterteLegacy#ComfortableLifeForAll#PartnerForChange
Posted by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Monday, May 11, 2020
The president gave the order for soldiers to shoot and kill NPA rebels who may attack them. He then offered P2 million to those who can identify and help in arresting NPA commanders. Those who do so will be treated as witnesses in protection—to be taken away from their communities and given a new identity to allegedly avoid being targeted by the NPA. Duterte told the public to report these to cabinet members only, in fear that local officials may be supporting the NPA.
Afterwards, Duterte launched into stories about his encounters with the NPA during his tenure as Davao City’s mayor. He ended his speech by saying that he respects the NPA’s decisions to die for their principles, but says that the government’s soldiers are also willing to kill for the country.
Again, the president did not provide any updates on the community quarantine after May 15. There was also no mention of mass testing.
Before Duterte’s speech, Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez proposed that in order to save the country’s economy, the government must boost food production to stimulate more product demand from Filipinos. An economic recovery program for small businesses is also being planned.
COVID-19 National Policy Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr., while citing the World Health Organization, stated that the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine must happen gradually. He doesn’t provide further details, however, saying only that the government’s approach will be “carrier-centric,” which is meant to detect, isolate and treat those infected.
The 48-minute address ended with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledging those who have helped in the fight against COVID-19.
Header photo courtesy of Presidential Communications Operations Office
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