MANILA – Senator Joel Villanueva on Friday urged the public to properly observe enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols of the national government to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country to avoid stricter measures from being imposed.

“We appeal to our people to heed the government’s call on strict social distancing so that we don’t have to resort to the police and the military to enforce it,” Villanueva said in a statement.

The lawmaker made the call after President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he may be forced to call in the military and the police to enforce social distancing, curfew and other ECQ measures if the public continues to defy quarantine protocols.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said this would be similar to the declaration of “martial law.”

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles later clarified that Duterte merely wants a “stricter” implementation of the ECQ if some people insist on being stubborn.

As of April 13, some 107,088 individuals have violated the quarantine protocols.

Villanueva pointed out however that giving the military and the police a bigger role in the enforcement of the ECQ would place additional burdens on our uniformed personnel.

He also said that it would be better for everyone to just fully cooperate in the fight against Covid-19.

“Our police and military front-liners have already too many concerns to address. Let us help beat the virus by observing the quarantine,” Villanueva said.

As of Friday, the Philippines had 5,878 Covid-19 infections, with 387 deaths and 487 recoveries. (PNA)

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