Cebu City mayor sees 'no harm' with military trucks out during pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 10:56 AM | Updated as of Jul 02 2020 11:03 AM

Armed policemen man a checkpoint along a road in Cebu City, central Philippines on June 24, 2020, after the government tightened its enhanced community quarantine restrictions amidst rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the city. Photo by Alex Badayos, AFP

The mayor of Cebu City said Thursday he saw "no harm" with the deployment of military trucks there in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic, despite Vice President Leni Robredo's warning that this may sow fear among residents. 

"There is no harm if there are military personnel, military tanks... This fight against coronavirus is like a war. This kind of war is rather more difficult because we are fighting an invisible enemy," Mayor Edgardo Labella told ANC. 

"It requires all of us residents some kind of self-discipline... The visibility of our military and PNP personnel, and of course show of force, is one of the ways we can show and impose discipline," he added. 
 
Robredo last week questioned the military tanks deployed to Cebu City after President Rodrigo Duterte placed it back under the strictest lockdown level due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

"This is a health pandemic. Bakit may mga tanke sa daan? The military has been very helpful, even to our office, pero I think we should take a more public health approach," she said. 

"Ang problema ko rito, 'pag nakita na ng mga tao iyong tanke, 'Ano ba to, giyera?' Iyong giyera natin dito against COVID-19 at hindi ito nadadaan sa pagso-sow ng fear among the constituency."
 
(My problem here is that when people see tanks, they'll think, 'Is this war?' Our war is against COVID-19 and this cannot be solved by sowing gear among the constituency.) 

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Robredo said Iloilo City contained its coronavirus outbreak at 4 active cases without any arrest for lockdown violations. 

"I have great faith na if people understand why we need to do this, if people understand that they have a stake, that they have a responsibility... mas magiging cooperative sila rather than tinatakot (they will be cooperative, rather than if they are intimidated)," she said. 

Experts earlier lamented Philippines' "militaristic" style to combat COVID-19 instead of taking on a public health approach. 

ANC, July 2, 2020