Duterte says police need to be stricter in imposing community quarantines
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said the country's mayors have to do more in the Philippine pandemic fight as COVID-19 infections continue to increase.
The President made the remark as he highlighted the importance of enforcing the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places, and the observance of physical distancing.
"The mayors have to do more. They have to do more. They have to take care..." Duterte said in an address taped Monday night but aired Tuesday morning.
He added that mayors could be invited for a meeting if their localities record a high number of virus infections.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said he has met with mayors and local government officials to discuss a proposed uniform system for penalizing violators of virus restrictions.
"Yung pagpapatupad po ng health standards, gusto namin magkaroon ng isang implementation lang po at pare-parehas sa bawat LGU," he told the President.
(We want to have a uniform implementation of health standards that is the same in each LGU.)
"Para kahit saan magpunta pare-parehas ang pagpapatupad. Ito po kasi ang pinaka-importante para ma-prevent ang pag-spread ng virus, magsimula sa pagsunod ng panuntunan ang bawat mamamayan," he added.
(So that, the implementation is the same anywhere. Following the health standards is the most important step to prevent the spread of the virus.)
As of Monday, the Philippines has 68,898 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 43,991 were active.
The Philippines saw an increase in infections again since last month after the government largely eased lockdowns across the country to stimulate the economy dragged down by the pandemic.
The government's pandemic task force however gave local government units the authority to declare localized or pocket lockdowns due to a high number of COVID-19 infections.
POLICE NEED TO BE STRICTER
The President also called on the police to be stricter in implementing pandemic policies, saying violations of minimum health standards can be considered a "serious crime" given that the country is seeing an outbreak of infections.
Arresting violators of the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places and the observance of physical distancing would impart them with a lesson, the President said.
"We have to ask our police to be more strict, hulihin talaga. A little shame would put them on notice forever," the President said.
"Sino ba naman gustong mahuli ka? But if you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time," Duterte said.