MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday urged the national government to keep the COVID-19 lockdown in several cities and municipalities where residents do not adhere to quarantine policies.
This as a fresh announcement on the quarantine status of cities and regions across the country is expected Tuesday night.
The general community quarantine should be retained and the easing of restrictions should only be done in areas where residents have been complying with health policies, Sotto told reporters in an online press conference.
"There is something wrong with our attitude... parang feeling nila tapos na 'yung problema, laban na ng labas. Nawala na 'yung pag-iingat kaya dangerous," he said.
(There is something wrong with our attitude... It seems like they think that the problem is over so they have been going out frequently. The sense of caution has dissipated so it's dangerous.)
While there have been delays in the Department of Health's testing program and other COVID-19 policies, the non-compliance of some Filipinos has been a "bigger headache," the Senate President said.
"We're disappointed with how everybody is handling it. Disappointing na kaya sumunod ng mga taga-ibang bansa, dapat kaya din natin (It's disappointing that those in other countries can comply, so we should also be able to follow)," he said.
Sotto acknowledged that majority of Filipinos have been complying with the government's directives to avoid going out and observe physical distancing, but "stubborn" and "complacent" individuals have been putting others at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"Hindi pupuwedeng puro gobyerno lang... Kailangan ang responsibilidad nasa atin din. We should share the responsibility with government," the Senate President said.
(It shouldn't just be an effort of the government... We also have to exercise some degree of responsibility. We should share the responsibility with government.)
Sotto also slammed government critics who have been raising concerns about the curtailment of freedom during the pandemic.
The United States and some European countries, where people have been decrying the lack of freedom during lockdowns, only ended up having more cases because of the residents' refusal to stay at home, he said.
"'Freedom of expression, demokrasya ay patay na,' Ang dami mong maririnig na ganun e... [But] the same thing is being done in other countries," he said.
(We often hear that "Freedom of expression, democracy is dead" during the lockdown... But the same thing is being done in other countries.)
Sotto did not name a city or a municipality where cases have spiked due to the refusal of people to stay at home. He said he was only basing his opinion after watching the news Monday night.
On Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that Cebu City is now the Philippines' COVID-19 epicenter.
Earlier this week, celebrity host KC Montero and 113 others were arrested in Makati for partying at a high-rise bar despite continuing quarantine restrictions.