Duterte: ‘This is not martial law’
Duterte has placed Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” in a bid to contain the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.
In a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last weekend, “enhanced community quarantine” includes the implementation of strict home quarantine, suspension of transportation, regulating the provision for food and essential health services; and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.
The declaration will be in effect until April 12.
However, Duterte said the public should not be scared even as the imposition of the Luzon-wide lockdown requires increase deployment of uniformed personnel.
“Let me be this clear, this is not martial law. Under the Constitution martial law is declared when there is invasion, rebellion or public safety requires it,” Duterte said in his live public address.
“Hindi ito marital law, wag kayong matatakot. Walang magdidisplay ng baril diyan except ‘yung mga member ng Armed Forces o Pulis. Ang kalaban natin pag martial law ay yung mga taong sumasalakay at naghihimagsik pero sa panahong ito ang kalaban natin ay tayo at ang sakit na COVID-19,” he added.
(This not martial law, don’t be afraid. No one will be allowed to display guns except law enforcers and soldiers. Martial law is meant against the enemies of the state but in this case, we are fighting COVID-19.)
The Department of Health has so far reported 142 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 12 of whom have died while three recovered.
READ FULL TEXT: Duterte’s address on ‘enhanced community quarantine’
Under the monthlong containment, most office work and mass public transportation on Luzon Island, which includes the capital, Manila, will be suspended, officials said. Public movement will be restricted and large gatherings banned except for medical and other emergencies.
Banks, hospitals, drugstores and supermarkets will remain open but only one family member can leave home to buy food and the establishments should observe “social distancing,” officials said.
Duterte also placed the rest of the Philippines under a “state of public health emergency ” and ordered mayors and village officials to take steps to fight the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the archipelago of more than 100 million people.
Cabinet officials responded to a flurry of questions after Duterte’s announcement. “When in doubt, stay home,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
They said schools and government office work in the executive department would be suspended, but police, military, coast guard and health personnel would remain on duty. “A strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households,” Nograles said.
Land, air and sea travel to Luzon would be restricted, he said.
Guidelines on transport suspension
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) later Monday released these guidelines which would be implemented effective 12:00 a.m. of 17 March 2020 until 12:00 a.m. of 13 April 2020:
1. MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-2, and PNR shall suspend its operations;
2. Operations of land transport modes such as public utility buses, jeepneys, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), FX, UV Express, Point-to-Point (P2P) buses, and Motorcycle Taxis shall be suspended;
3. The DOTr aviation sector shall let foreigners depart (outbound) from the Philippines within 72 hours upon the effectivity of the Enhanced Community Quarantine;
4. Airport operation shall be limited to outgoing flights carrying foreigners and tourists. Filipinos are not allowed to go outside the country;
5. Inbound flights will only be for repatriating Filipinos;
6. Land, air and sea travel of uniformed personnel for official business, especially those transporting medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to the COVID-19, and other humanitarian assistance, shall be allowed;
7. Only 1 (one) person per household is allowed to go outside their homes to buy basic necessities. Use of private vehicles for this purpose shall be allowed; and
8. Media vehicles and reporters shall be allowed to travel within the community quarantine area, provided that they secure a special media pass from the PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office).
All other specific details or requests for clarification shall be discussed and clarified in another IATF meeting to be held Tuesday.
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