By Genalyn Kabiling
There may be rising number of “pasaway” or people breaking quarantine rules but the government is not considering the imposition of martial law in Luzon, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Thursday.
Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has not discussed any martial law declaration to enforce the quarantine rules to curb the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
“For you to use or declare martial law, ano po ‘yun (there must be) rebellion and invasion, so hindi po pinag-uusapan (so it is not being discussed),” he said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
Nograles warned that the government will enforce the law against those who violate the quarantine rules. He said policemen have been deployed to implement the strict stay-at-home policy following reports of many private vehicles on the road despite the lockdown.
Law enforcement authorities have been authorized to inspect private vehicles if the driver and passengers are among the authorized people outside their homes. Violators will be given tickets.
The police earlier reported the arrest of more than 100,000 persons for violating quarantine guidelines in Luzon and other places in the country.
Nograles also appealed to the public “to police your own ranks” and remind others to observe the home quarantine rules to avoid getting infected. He said the government needs the full cooperation of the public to observe the quarantine rules as the Luzon-wide lockdown reaches its “last stretch.”
“Nasa last stretch na tayo, kaunting sacrifice na lang. Yan ang pakiusap sa lahat (We’re on the last stretch. Let’s sacrifice some more. That’s our appeal),” he said.
“We don’t want to waste all of our common sacrifice. It would be unfair to those following the rules. We have to impose this order, we have to be strict about it,” he added.
Nograles also said authorities aim to flatten the curve or slow down the coronavirus spread so as not to overwhelm the country’s healthcare systems with cases. He said efforts are underway to improve the healthcare facilities and resources to test, isolate, and treat coronavirus patients.