Military preparing to implement tougher lockdown once Duterte approves it
The military is preparing for possible deployment in response to the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte on possible martial law-like lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The military's deployment in response to the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that it will be used to strictly implement the enhanced community quarantine, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Sunday.
"The order or instruction has been broadcasted live nationwide. The AFP took cognizance of the order and already prepares for it even before the order to deploy is given," said Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman. said in a statement issued Sunday.
"That, we suppose, makes the AFP unique and dependable as an institution because of initiative and foresight. We take orders and know which are specific tasks and which are implied," he said.
Arevalo noted that "there is nothing to be alarmed" with the preparations being done by the military.
"We believe there is nothing to be alarmed about in this natural reaction of the AFP to prepare and deploy when it becomes necessary," he said.
"What we should all be alarmed about instead is the fact that a lot of people are blatantly violating the law and disobeying the rules and health protocols which must be strictly enforced otherwise people die," he added.
The AFP issued the statement after a copy of an internal memorandum for Philippine Air Force personnel leaked to the public.
The memo states that with the "PRRDs (President Rodrigo Duterte) latest pronouncement on martial law type role of AFP/PNP," the PAF "advice all personnel to prepare for strict implementation of extensive enhanced community quarantine where the AFP will be the overall in charge along roads and highways."
Arevalo explained that according to the "Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, that document is an internal memo issued for the purpose of providing advance information to give guidance to personnel?in this case the PAF."
"The Commander-in-Chief President Duterte has mentioned in his televised address to the nation about the possibility of deployment. That is, if the observed deterioration in discipline and order will continue and the people will not heed the pleas of government," he said.
Maj. Aristides Galang, PAF spokesman, said the internal memo was issued to prepare their troops based on the statement issued by the president.
"The PAF is just anticipating of any scenarios in case the President as Commander in Chief of the AFP would decide to implement his statements lately to the public as earlier stated and prepare our troops in advance," he said.
Arevalo said based on the pronouncement of Duterte, he is ordering the AFP to prepare for deployment with the PNP in case people will continue to defy protocols and disobey the rules on the enhanced community quarantine.
"For now. the president does not yet have directives for us to deploy our troops. But it is incumbent and customary on the part of the leadership of the Philippine Air Force, and the AFP under General Felimon Santos Jr, for that matter, to exercise its initiative of alerting and preparing our personnel," he said.
Arevalo also noted that even before the announcement of the president, the "local chief executives of the cities of Quezon, Pasay, Parañaque, and Mandaluyong, and the municipality of Pateros have sought the assistance of the AFP in the enforcement of regulations."
"Almost all barangays in the NCR were actually seeking the assistance of the military and the police which shows the magnitude of the problem," he said.
"Law abiding citizens and those who follow the rules should not worry. There is no reason to be alarmed," he added. Robina Asido/DMS