‘What martial law?’: Palace defends military, police presence in NCR lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday defended the presence of military and police in checkpoints that have been set up in Metro Manila’s borders in light of the imposition of a community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19, stressing that the government needs the “manpower” from the uniformed personnel.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night announced a “community quarantine” of the National Capital Region (NCR), with land, domestic air, and sea travel to be suspended from March 15 until April 14.
Checkpoints have been established across the cities that made up the NCR with the police and military taking on the frontlines, a move many associates with martial law.
“Paanong marital law. Meron na bang inaresto? ‘Pag marital law, maraming inaaresto, maraming kinukulong,” Panelo said.
“Talagang kailangan natin ang militar kasi kailangan natin ng manpower. Hindi kaya ng mga baranggay ang pagpapatupad nito. Kailangan ng kooperasyon ng bawat ahensiya ng gobyerno,” he added.
The Palace official likewise assured that medical practitioners are also manning the checkpoints and not just the uniformed personnel.
“Merong mga health workers kasama ‘yun. Nakita mo ba…merong mga kumukuha ng temperatura. May mga doctor na kasama dun saka mga nurse,” he said.
The Philippines has so far recorded 111 COVID-19 cases, of which, eight have already died.
The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency due to the virus, which originated from Hubei, China.
The World Health Organization declared the disease as a global pandemic after it killed nearly 5,000 people and infected 110,000 others worldwide.
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