President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kill members of leftist groups last night if they challenge the government during the Luzon lockdown.
Duterte said in English and Filipino during the televised speech, “I’m addressing the Left. Your violations, slamming the distribution [of food], remember you in the Left, you are not the government. And you know that. You are not the government and you cannot be part of what we are planning for the nation.”
“You have to understand that. Don’t do anything foolish and instigate a riot because I will order you detained and you will only be released after the COVID [pandemic].”
The president’s warning comes after 20 residents from Quezon City were arrested yesterday after they staged a protest to demand food from the local government. Quezon City Task Force Action Officer Rannie Ludovica told CNN Philippines in an interview that the activist group Kadamay allegedly instigated the residents to hold the rally and that contrary to initial claims, the residents did, in fact, receive food packs from the government. Quezon City Hall also said in a separate statement that there is “continuous distribution of food packs throughout the city.” Kadamay, meanwhile, has urged Mayor Joy Belmonte to release the protesters.
Duterte warned leftist groups not to “test” his patience.
“You know, we are ready for you. Violence, shooting, killing, I will not hesitate [to order] my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you. Now, if you are detained you will have to look for your own food. I will give the food to good people who are in need, instead of giving it to foolish people like you who start trouble,” he said.
“Don’t threaten me with violence because if you really want trouble, we will have chaos in our country. If you want to shoot, sure, I will not hesitate. My order for the police, the military, even to village officials, that if someone caused trouble and their lives are put in danger, ‘Shoot them dead.’ If you cause violence, I will bury you.”
As of yesterday, the Philippines has 2,311 COVID-19 cases, with 50 recoveries and 96 dead.