Military may be tapped to enforce quarantine if COVID-19 cases continue to surge - Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte said he could be forced to utilize the military in enforcing the quarantine measures if coronavirus disease cases continue to surge.
In a televised message late Monday night, Duterte said if there would be "a runaway contagion" and the police could no longer handle the situation, he would tap the military.
"The police cannot be everywhere and anywhere all the time. The military is not part of the governance yet in the matter of using force or at least intimidating you with soldiers. Far from it, we do not have that plan," he said.
"But if it cannot be handled anymore and it's a runaway contagion, I will be forced to use the military because we really lack policemen. Now that the military is there to enforce you to obey this community lockdown, you should follow because that's for you," Duterte added.
Duterte noted that because there are those who do not follow the quarantine protocols, the number of coronavirus continues to increase.
The Philippine National Police is mainly enforcing the quarantine measures with the help of the local government units.
Duterte also said that the police should help in contact tracing of individuals who have exposure to COVID-19 positive cases.
"This (contact tracing) has to be financed by government. Contact tracing meaning that the people who are doing the actual tracing will have to travel to the place where the person in question resides. There's a need for a vehicle," he said.
Duterte said the contact tracers could approach policemen if they need vehicles.
"They ride (the police car). The police bring them to the boundary. Beyond that, the other policemen will help them to look for other people, because the police have resources there and they know where the barangay captains live," the President said.
He said it would be the fastest way to conduct tracing.
As of August 10, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines soared to 136,638, with 68,159 recoveries and 2,294 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS