IATF says martial law not an option
Placing the whole Philippines or its part under martial law is not an option amid the coronavirus disease crisis, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases said on Friday.
IATF Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement as he clarified that when President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned about martial law on Thursday night, what he meant was similar to a martial law enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine and not martial law in its strict sense.
"What the President said last night is very clear - martial law type. Meaning to say, you know, what the President said was if some people would continue to be stubborn, then we will really employ and ask the military to come in and help with the police," he said.
Nograles explained that the Constitution is clear when the President could declare martial law, which are in cases of invasion or rebellion.
"But the President is only trying to emphasize to the people that he also has the ability to ask for the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)...to help impose order if need be," he stressed.
As to the statement earlier of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque that a total lockdown was one of the options if there would be more violators of the ECQ, Nograles said he was not aware of what he said.
"So, may be we should ask him what's the definition of total lockdown because we are already in ECQ. So, I don't know what that total lockdown is," he said.
Duterte has placed the entire Luzon, including Metro Manila, under ECQ to contain the virus on March 17. Metro Manila is the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country as huge number of cases are here.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 218 new COVID-19 cases in the country, bringing the total cases to 5,878 with 487 recoveries and 387 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS