Philippine President warns curfew breakers would be “shot dead”

Metro Manila cities have imposed night curfews to help contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he would order the country’s police and military to shoot dead anyone “who creates trouble” during a month-long lockdown of the island of Luzon enforced to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This would also include curfew breakers in places where curfews have already been imposed, including cities in the Greater Capital Region that have enacted stay-at-home orders from 8 pm to 5 am.

“Let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because it is critical that we have order,” Duterte said in a late-night televised national address on April 1, adding that “my orders to the police and military [are] if there is trouble and there’s an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead,” he said.

“Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you,” he added.

The president further said that abuse of medical workers was “a serious crime” that would not be tolerated. The statement came after outrage erupted among the medical community about social stigma and instances of hospital workers suffering physical abuse and discrimination, which Duterte said must be stopped.

Amnesty International and resident activists protest

Amnesty International’s Philippine section director Butch Olano said that it was “deeply alarming that President Duterte has extended a ‘shoot to kill’ policy to law enforcement agencies. Deadly, unchecked force should never be used in an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He added that “the abusive methods used to punish those accused of breaching quarantine and the vast number of mass arrests that have been carried out to date, against mainly poor people, are further examples of the oppressive approach the government takes against those struggling with basic needs.”

Other activists said many people, particularly the poor, were forced to stage protests or break government orders because they did not have any food due to the lockdown.

“We are here to call for help because of hunger. We have not been given food, rice, groceries or cash. We have no work. Who do we turn to,” one slum resident said before being arrested. Another resident complained that with the arrest of her husband and other male residents, many families would be struggling even further to find food.

In a first reaction, the country’s national police chief told news organisations on April 2 that Duterte was just demonstrating his seriousness in regards to public order and is known for tending to hyperbole in his remarks, and no one would actually be shot.

Metro Manila cities have imposed night curfews to help contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he would order the country's police and military to shoot dead anyone “who creates trouble” during a month-long lockdown of the island of Luzon enforced to halt the spread of the coronavirus. This would also include curfew breakers in places where curfews have already been imposed, including cities in the Greater Capital Region that have enacted stay-at-home orders from 8 pm to 5 am. “Let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because...

Metro Manila cities have imposed night curfews to help contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he would order the country’s police and military to shoot dead anyone “who creates trouble” during a month-long lockdown of the island of Luzon enforced to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This would also include curfew breakers in places where curfews have already been imposed, including cities in the Greater Capital Region that have enacted stay-at-home orders from 8 pm to 5 am.

“Let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because it is critical that we have order,” Duterte said in a late-night televised national address on April 1, adding that “my orders to the police and military [are] if there is trouble and there’s an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead,” he said.

“Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you,” he added.

The president further said that abuse of medical workers was “a serious crime” that would not be tolerated. The statement came after outrage erupted among the medical community about social stigma and instances of hospital workers suffering physical abuse and discrimination, which Duterte said must be stopped.

Amnesty International and resident activists protest

Amnesty International’s Philippine section director Butch Olano said that it was “deeply alarming that President Duterte has extended a ‘shoot to kill’ policy to law enforcement agencies. Deadly, unchecked force should never be used in an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He added that “the abusive methods used to punish those accused of breaching quarantine and the vast number of mass arrests that have been carried out to date, against mainly poor people, are further examples of the oppressive approach the government takes against those struggling with basic needs.”

Other activists said many people, particularly the poor, were forced to stage protests or break government orders because they did not have any food due to the lockdown.

“We are here to call for help because of hunger. We have not been given food, rice, groceries or cash. We have no work. Who do we turn to,” one slum resident said before being arrested. Another resident complained that with the arrest of her husband and other male residents, many families would be struggling even further to find food.

In a first reaction, the country’s national police chief told news organisations on April 2 that Duterte was just demonstrating his seriousness in regards to public order and is known for tending to hyperbole in his remarks, and no one would actually be shot.

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