News Release

Local officials warned on social distancing

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 13, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday said he would go after local chief executives who are not strictly implementing quarantine guidelines being enforced by the National Task Force COVID-19 after hearing reports that some localities are not following social distancing rules.

The President, who presided over the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Malacañang, expressed disappointment over reports that people congregate in public markets with some engaging in gambling and drinking spree.

The country made good initial response on curbing COVID-19 after it imposed a Luzon-wide lockdown on time, the President said.

“There seems to be a lack of uniformity in the matter of enforcing the distance rule, ‘yung social distancing,” he said in his message to the nation Monday night.

“Alam mo ‘pag hindi natin ito susunod, walang mangyari. Wala talagang mangyari. Kami dito salita nang salita hanggang makuha rin namin ang COVID, baka una kaming mamatay. Pero hindi talaga ito makatulong sa Pilipino.”

The President made a renewed appeal to the public to remain indoors.

At the same time, he tasked the mayors and governors to implement the guidelines on social distancing or distant rule to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in their localities.

President Duterte vowed to go after local officials who will not follow the guidelines set by the national government.

“Kayong mga mayors, huwag kayong maglaro kasi ang ayaw ninyo mag-social distancing mapipilitan ako puntahan kita at arestuhin kita. Ayaw kong mag-aresto ng mayor,” he said.

“So huwag ka magsabi, ‘Ay hindi meron kaming batas sunod.’ Sa panahon na ito ang batas isa lang, ang batas ng DOH [Department of Health] as implemented by Lorenzana, Año, Galvez. ‘Yan, ‘yang silang tatlo. ‘Yan ‘yung batas ngayon.”

The President also warned medical facilities turning away patients needing medical care. A patient in Cabanatuan City died after being refused admission by six hospitals.

The Justice Department will prosecute medical facilities, especially government hospitals, doing such practice, he said.

“Merong gobyerno. You could have just looked for a house there na ano o kwarto kung saan adjunct diyan sa hospital at i-sanitize na ninyo at doon ninyo nilagay,” he advised hospitals.

As of Monday afternoon, there were 4,932 infected individuals in the country with 315 deaths. PND