President Rodrigo Duterte reassured the public that he has no plan to implement a nationwide martial law in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The chief executive explained that his administration only wants to fulfill its mandate to protect the Filipinos against Covid-19 by imposing strict quarantine measures.
“I repeat, there is no martial law in the Philippines. Far from it. We are exercising the power of the state to protect public health. That is all there is to it,” Duterte said in his speech.
Duterte emphasized that the state forces’ role is solely for helping the government deploy their coronavirus plan.
“Huwag kayong matakot (Do not be afraid). There will be no arrest, detention, or anything. It’s purely, if at all if there’s any intervention or interdiction done by the law enforcement agencies pati ho ‘yung military (and the military), the rule is just to implement the law. They are called upon to assist the civil government,” he added.
Duterte just recently announced that beginning June 1, the community quarantine in Metro Manila, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, and Albay would be downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ) from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
The rest of the country, he said, would be under modified GCQ.
The chief executive reminded the public that the country is still under quarantin. Thus, the government reserves the right to control how the public will move during the easing of restrictions.
“Remember the Covid microbes are still in the air that you breathe, that you pass on to your fellowmen if you are not ready or willing to wear the mask. It is precisely the protection, not for you if you do not want it, but for the protection of the other guy,” Duterte said.
“And that is why the state has every right to control your movement if you pass on a contagion to the population.”
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded 15,588 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 921 fatalities and 3,598 recoveries.