Palace to foreigners who won't comply with lockdown: 'You are free to go'

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2020 03:54 PM

Very few people can be found walking at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, home to many expatriates, as the expanded community quarantine takes effect on March 17, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Foreign nationals who refuse to follow government policies on the enhanced community quarantine are free to leave the Philippines, Malacañang said Thursday.

Precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic cover everyone, including foreigners, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

"Eh kung ayaw niyo pong tumupad diyan, lalong-lalo na yung mga dayuhan, umalis na po kayo ng Pilipinas. You are free to go," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

(If you don't want to follow, especially the foreigners, leave the Philippines. You are free to go.)

He made the remark after a recent complaint by a foreigner of police presence at the condominium building where he lives. The building's management also said the officers were "apparently agitated” and that their actions were "extremely upsetting, clearly inappropriate, and possibly illegal."

Police, meanwhile, said there were reports that residents were gathering at the common pool area in violation of quarantine guidelines.

The Department of Justice had said that violators of the enhanced community quarantine can be arrested without a warrant, and can even face imprisonment of up to 6 months.

"The President’s message is that the enhanced community quarantine covers all," Roque said.

The Philippine National Police said over 100,000 people have violated lockdown protocols.

Luzon, home to over 50 million people, was placed on lockdown on March 17 to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown was supposed to end on April 12 but the government extended it until April 30 to prepare for a "new normal."