WE are amazed that at this late hour, many Filipinos still do not realize the seriousness of the coronavirus onslaught on the nation, so that they continue to defy authorities who are implementing the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said yesterday that there may not be any other viable option but to deploy police personnel to take over the barangays and implement the 8 p.m. to 5 a.mm curfew hours as demanded by the ECQ.
We heard this from DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya himself, who noted that stubborn groups continue to defy the “stay at home order” of President Duterte. Again, there is another warning from Usec Malaya urging the public to respect the curfew hours, observe social distancing, and scrap all non-essential activities especially if these would involve crowds.
The DILG has supervision over the Philippine National Police (PNP) and at this point of ECQ implementation, it should be incumbent upon the DILG to require the police of do their work. No more of the kid-glove treatment to violators. No more “palakasan” and petty street graft and bribes. The nation’s very survival is at stake, as presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, and so every Filipino is called upon to help.
Since it has become clear by now the not all Filipinos understand the call for conscience and patriotism, the police and the DILG should flex their muscles some more to elicit compliance.
The recent reports about arrests of unscrupulous vendors of overpriced rubbing alcohol in Bulacan, and the sellers of fake COVID-19 medicines in Navotas are most welcome. The same goes for one or two cases of fake news peddlers on the internet, who were also arrested by the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group.
Filipinos who unconscionably try to enrich themselves and line their pockets in this time of national emergency — while other Filipinos such as health workers and volunteers risk their lives in the service of COVID-19 patients — should be meted the full punishment of the law.
As for President Duterte, who as President and Commander-in-Chief is head of all the armed and uniformed units, this should be an opportune time for him to again air assurances to the PNP that their President is completely behind them even if they encounter legal problems later in the performance of their duty.