Palace defends tapping ‘disciplined’ ex-military men to lead COVID-19 health crisis response

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2020 04:15 PM

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. File

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte chose former top military officials to lead and implement the Philippines’ plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic because of their “culture of discipline,” his spokesman said Friday as he explained that the country is in a “state of war against an unseen enemy.”

Leading the Philippines’ response to the public health crisis are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former military chiefs Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

The three were chosen to lead the government’s efforts because of their “culture of discipline, obedience to superiors, training in organization, tactical strategies in fighting the enemies of the state, and thorough preparedness in organization,” Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Lorenzana chairs the national task force on the pandemic (NTF COVID-19), which executes policies formulated by the government Inter-Agency Task Force. Año, meanwhile, is vice chair of the NTF COVID-19 while Galvez was designated as “chief implementer” of the government response plan.

Panelo explained that with the Luzon-wide lockdown, state authorities need to maintain peace and order to ensure that the strict home quarantine is effective.

And with former military officials leading the government’s plan, state troops “will necessarily” abide by the government’s protocols, Panelo explained.

“The strict implementation of home quarantine is a must, so is the maintenance of peace and order to make affective the fight against the coronavirus,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Philippines reported 71 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the countrywide total to 707.

Luzon is on lockdown to prevent the further spread of the disease, while the whole Philippines is under a state of calamity and public health emergency because of the virus.