Instead of announcing the end of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised public speech today that he is offering a PHP2 million (US$39,700) reward to anyone who could help in the capture of leading communist rebels.
“If you have killed a commander or you were able to pinpoint a sleeping commander [somewhere], just tell me and [I will give you] PHP2 million, as long as it’s a top commander,” the president said in English and Filipino.
He said anyone who is able to do so will become a protected witness, and will be transferred to another town in the country so they could live without worrying about their safety.
“I will remove you from your place…I will give you land. Because if I don’t, you will get killed. When that happens, the squealer will be given a new identity under the witness protection program,” Duterte added.
Duterte’s speech was supposed to have been broadcast last night, but Malacañang Palace postponed its airing to today. Filipinos have been waiting for his speech because the ECQ, which has been imposed in Metro Manila and other areas, is scheduled to end on May 15. There have been reports that two Metro Manila cities will be downgraded to the general community quarantine, a less strict form of the lockdown, but Duterte did not confirm this during his address.
However, the president said that easing restrictions will be done so very slowly.
“It’s going to be very slow, very slow. So we don’t trip. Really slow. We cannot afford a second or third wave to happen…Do not go out of your house without a mask. That is a must. Must comply,” he said.
“If you don’t wear a mask, your companion will be in danger. Not you. If you die that’s fine, but how about the one in front of you,” the chief executive added.
“Then the social distancing. This is our new life until there is such a time that we have a vaccine. We have the medicine but not vaccine. Follow that. That’s really important,” he said.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque is expected to deliver a public speech later in the afternoon to provide more details about the lockdown.
Fast. Funny. Digital. We produce creativity that delights and influences customers. Join forces with us to slay buzzwords, rise above the noise, and sow the seeds of something great.