Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened a martial law-like crackdown if people do not stop flouting lockdown rules in the capital city of Manila. In a bid to stem coronavirus spread, Duterte had previously ordered strict quarantine measures for the island of Luzon which is the biggest and most populous region in the country. As of April 17, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected 5,878 people and killed 387 across the Philippines.
Duterte, on April 16, while speaking in a televised address warned people that military and police might take over if they did not follow lockdown rules. This announcement came a day after Philippino authorities reported an upsurge of cars on Manila’s roads which have been deserted since the lockdown was imposed.
"I'm just asking for a little discipline. If not, if you do not believe me, then the military and police will take over. The military and police will enforce social distancing at curfew... It's like martial law. You choose," the president said in his speech.
Last week, a 63-year-old man was shot dead for violating isolation rules in the country. According to international media reports, the police said that the man threatened the village officials and the policemen with a scythe checkpoint assembled for COVID-19 outbreak. Apparently, the man is believed to be intoxicated with alcohol when he threatened the villagers as well as the police officials in Nasipit in the southern province of Agusan del Norte.
However, according to the police report, the suspect was first cautioned by a worker in the village for not wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19 spread. But that made the man furious who later uttered provocative words and then attacked the personnel with a scythe. Since the police officials failed to pacify the man, he was shot dead making it the first reported case of a police officer shooting a civilian who refused to follow coronavirus restrictions.
Image Credits: AP