MANILA (2ND UPDATE)-- President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night asked police officers to be stricter in implementing COVID-19 restrictions as the country records more virus infections.
Duterte said violations of the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places and the observance of physical distancing can be considered a "serious crime" given that the country is seeing an outbreak of infections.
"We have to ask our police to be more strict, hulihin talaga. A little shame would put them on notice forever," the President said in a speech aired Tuesday morning.
Getting arrested and detained would be a "lesson for all time," he added.
"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.
"We'll ask the police to function as they should in times like this."
The President made the remark as the country continues to record more COVID-19 infections following the major easing of lockdowns across the country.
Duterte's order is part of a "unified ordinance" crafted by local government units on the implementation of minimum health standards, his spokesperson Harry Roque said.
"Kasama po 'yan sa binubuong unified ordinance na isusulong ng Metro Manila Council, iba't-ibang konseho ng Metro Manila so antayin po natin 'yan dahil nasa iba't ibang lokal na pamahalaan na po yung draft ng local ordinance," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
(That is included in the unified ordinance that the Metro Manila Council is pushing for so let's just wait because the draft is already wil the LGUs.)
As of Monday, the Philippines had 68,898 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 43,991 were active.
The President also reminded Filipinos to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and refrain from making unnecessary travels.
"You want COVID to slow down or stop? Wear a mask or do not go out of your house if you don't want to wear one. Tsaka social distancing, yung lang," he said.
"There is no other way that we can preven COVID from transferring from one person to another unless we obey," he added.