Duterte: Authorities may take over hotels, but it’s not a ‘remedy’ in a democracy
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday floated the possibility of having authorities take over hotels to address the lack of hospital beds, but said this is “not a remedy desired in a democratic state.”
“I can order the authorities to take over the operations of hotels kung wala na talagang mga kama. Madali iyan. Hindi talaga problema yan [if no more available beds. That’s easy. That would not be a problem],” Duterte said in a pre-recorded address.
“When we are pushed to the wall even by the microbe itself or external, internal, I can always order the military and the police to go there and confiscate the operations of hotels. And even the medicines, I can go to wherever warehouse. But that is not really what you would call a remedy in a democratic state,” he added.
The Philippine College of Physicians earlier urged the government to convert hotels into isolation units for COVID-19 patients as new cases continue to overwhelm hospitals.
But all Metro Manila hotels were already fully booked and can no longer be converted to isolation units, the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) said.
On Monday, the National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Metro Manila needs 2,000 hospital beds for severe and critical COVID-19 cases.
As of April 7, the COVID-19 beds in 30 of 56 hospitals in Metro Manila were already fully occupied.
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