The Philippine National Police (PNP) has confirmed the contents of a leaked memo that has made the rounds on social media.
The memo, addressed to the Air Force, mentions the “strict implementation of extensive enhanced community quarantine”, wherein the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would monitor roads and highways.
In an interview with radio station DZMM, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa explained that the guidelines entailed directly arresting quarantine violators. There would be no warnings anymore.
“Siguro dapat magpakita ang public na mag-behave sila para hindi ito matuloy,” Gamboa said. “Kung ito matutuloy it will be the full implementation of the law.”
130,000 citizens have been apprehended due to violating the quarantine. Around 96,000 of these were fined and were not arrested.
Following several instances of citizens’ continued quarantine violations, President Rodrigo Duterte gave orders to the AFP and PNP on April 16 to take charge, specifically on maintaining social distancing and enforcing curfew. He referred to the AFP and PNP’s role as “martial law-like.”
“Hindi nga naman ito martial law pero parang martial law na rin, in the sense that I have to impose something on you for your own good of the country and people,” said Pres. Duterte in his televised address.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told media that Pres. Duterte has not yet implemented the said military lockdown measures.
“If he so decides he will issue the necessary and corresponding executive issuance,” said Roque.
As of April 20, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported a total of 6,459 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 613 recoveries and 428 deaths.