MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday urged authorities to stay calm and humane during the lockdown of millions of Filipinos because of the COVID-19 pandemic, after some law enforcers figured in altercations with those they are tasked to watch over.
"Sa unipormadong hanay: Maging mahinahon tayo sa pagpapaalala sa mga patakaran ng social distancing," Robredo said in a taped message uploaded on Facebook.
"Virus ang kalaban natin, at hindi ang ating kapwa Pilipino. Maging makatao sana tayo sa pagpapatupad ng anumang atas o tungkulin," she added.
(To our uniformed ranks: May we be calm in reminding the public of social distancing rules. Our enemy is the virus, not our fellow Filipinos. Let's be humane in carrying out any order or duty.)
A recent viral video showed a police officer tackling to the ground a foreigner who allegedly swore at officers who chided him over an alleged quarantine violation inside a gated Makati subdivision over the weekend.
In another incident, a police officer last week shot dead a former soldier who had post-traumatic stress disorder, after he allegedly violated lockdown measures in Quezon City.
Several other officers are facing investigation for allegedly trespassing into a condominium compound in Taguig.
Some 50 million people are on home quarantine in Luzon until April 30. President Rodrigo Duterte last week extended the lockdown in Metro Manila and several other areas until May 15.
"Alam nating hanggang walang bakuna o lunas para sa COVID-19 ay makakaranas tayo ng mga bugso ng pagkalat ng sakit na ito," said Robredo.
"Patuloy ang ating paghahangad para sa isang malinaw at mas long-term na plano. Hindi dapat nagtatapos sa paglalaan ng budget ang ganito kalaking krisis," she added.
(We know that until there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19, we will experience bursts of this disease spreading. We continue to hope for a clear and more long-term plan. A crisis this big shouldn't end with the allocation of funds.)
The Philippines set aside P275 billion to help local governments fight the pandemic.