Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that he will order the country’s military and police to shoot dead anyone who violates the month-long lockdown in the island of Luzon to curb the spread of coronavirus. He also added that abuse of medical workers is a serious crime and it will not be tolerated.
“Let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because it is critical that we have order,” Duterte said in a late-night televised national address on Wednesday, 1 April.
“Do not harm the health workers and doctors, because that is a serious crime. My orders to the police and the military, if anyone creates trouble and their lives are in danger shoot them dead. Do not intimidate the government. Do not challenge the government. You will lose”.Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines President
“Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you,” the president said.
Duterte’s warning came after some residents of a slum in Manila’s Quezon City staged a protest along a highway, claiming that they had not received any food packets and other relief supplies since the lockdown began more than two weeks ago.
The village security officers and police urged them to return to their homes but they refused, a police report said. The cops broke the protest and arrested 20 people, the report added.
The Philippines has recorded 96 coronavirus deaths and 2,311 confirmed cases, all but three in the past three weeks, with infections now being reported in the hundreds every day. “The situation is getting worse. That is why I’m telling you the seriousness of the problem”, Duterte said.
(With inputs from Reuters and Al Jazeera)
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)