By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte told mayors they will be arrested if they will not strictly enforce social distancing during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), as he warned that there would be a second wave of COVID-19 cases if the measure is not observed.
Duterte made the statement as he led a meeting of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases late Monday night.
In his remarks aired on People’s Television, the President said cities may have their own ordinances or executive orders, but they need to implement the measures adopted by the Department of Health (DOH) during the quarantine period.
“There seems to be a lack of uniformity on the enforcement of social distancing,” he said in the meeting.
“Kayong mga mayors, ‘wag kayong maglaro. Kasi kung ayaw ninyo mag-social distancing, mapipilitan ako na puntahan kita at arestuhin kita,” he added.
(To the mayors, do not play with the government. Because if you do not want to enforce social distancing, I will be forced to go to you and arrest you.)
“Ang batas ng DOH (Whatever the DOH says), as implemented by [Defense Secretary Delfin] Lorenzana, [Interior Secretary Eduardo] Año, [Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito] Galvez, sila, ayan ‘yung batas ngayon. ‘Yung sarili mong paniwala, itago mo lang ‘yan (they are the law now. Keep your personal opinions to yourself),” he continued.
Duterte explained that a second wave of COVID-19 cases was inevitable without social distancing.
“Itong epidemic or pandemic, hindi ito natapos na sabihin mo ‘yung nasa ospital, yung ginagamot ngayon, ‘yun ‘yung first wave. May second wave ito,” he said.
(This pandemic does not end with the patients now being treated in hospitals. They are the first wave. There will be a second one.)
“‘Yan ang ibig sabihin kung bakit [dapat] i-maintain ninyo ang social distancing rule.”
(That is why we should maintain the social distancing rule.)
President Duterte, meanwhile, reminded barangay officials that it is their duty to ensure the safety of their constituents by being sure about the cause of a person’s death.
Duterte made the statement as he recognized that there were people who died without their family knowing whether the deceased had COVID-19 or not.
“It behooves upon the barangay captain to see to it that kung sino ‘yung namatay, siguraduhin lang pagsabi, heart attack. Kasi kung walang pinagsasabi then testing kaagad,” he said.
(…if the person was said to have died of a heart attack, then to make sure of that. If the cause was not stated, then they have to test immediately.)
“Kung malaman ko na namatay sa corona, kunin ko ‘yung patay at sa gusto ninyo at hindi, magagalit kayo sa akin, wala na rin akong magawa, trabaho ko ‘yan, dalhin ko ‘yan doon sa crematory, sunugin ko.”
(If I find out they died of COVID-19, I will take the remains – whether you like it or not, you can get angry at me, I won’t be able to do anything else because it’s my job – bring them to the crematory, and burn them.)