MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that while the government can take over hotels to serve as medical facilities to boost the country's COVID-19 response, this move would not be a "remedy" under a democracy.
Duterte on Monday said the government "can expropriate" hotels to house doctors and nurses who would catch COVID-19, as hospital beds are filled up with patients.
He repeated this in his latest speech, saying, "I can even use the power of the police power of the 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."
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Video courtesy of PTV
(I can order the authorities to take over the operations of hotels if there are really no beds left. That's easy. It's not a problem.)
"I am not without power. When we are pushed to the wall, either by the microbe itself or by external, internal, I can always order the military and the police to go there and confiscate the operation of the hotels," the President.
"And even the medicines, I can go to wherever warehouse there and then... But that is not really a what you would call a remedy desired in a democratic state."
Duterte recently ordered state medical insurer PhilHealth to speed up the payment of its debt to hospitals, which reportedly forced some facilities to cut trim their manpower.
This will allow hospitals to set up about 1,380 additional beds for coronavirus-stricken patients, said Carlito Galvez Jr, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.