As the coronavirus disease scare turns critical, stubborn elements in society want to turn the situation into their favor.
President Rody Duterte identified these nuisances as politicians who insist that things should be done their way even as the national government pleads for cooperation and members of leftist groups use public fear to whip up discontent.
An obviously irritated Rody said that he will not hesitate to have public officials and hard-headed violators of the enhanced community quarantine jailed until the problem on the coronavirus infections is solved.
Another headache of the President are paranoid citizens who see front liners as carriers of the malignancy and are, thus, the source of harassment on health workers.
What is being asked of all, including the troublemakers, is cooperation by following the directives of the government and to not take matters into their hands, which is a simple task that requires patience.
Rody told the police and the military to round up violators of the measures covering Luzon meant to deny the virus of claiming more victims as the deaths and contamination grow.
“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and the military is to assure that there is no trouble. If the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead,” an annoyed president said.
Rody’s unscheduled address was triggered by an incident in Quezon City where several individuals were instigated by the left-wing Kadamay to stage a protest to demand cash assistance that Rody said is coming.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is validating the list of beneficiaries of the Bayanihan subsidies of from P5,000 to P8,000 for each family for two months to ensure that those who are in extreme need get priority.
Rabble-rousing Kadamay, notorious for hijacking government housing projects, had told people a lie that they were skipped in the handing out of government aid.
The assembly was apparently Kadamay’s way of challenging the ban on mass gatherings, which is strictly enforced as part of physical distancing directives that is the only deterrent to the virus in the absence of a vaccine.
Leftist fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines immediately sprang to life, demanding that the police release those arrested and accused the government of “targeting impoverished people asking for assistance during the crisis.”
Assuring the poor that “you will not go hungry,” Rody, however, warned the leftists and some local officials “not to intimidate the government. Do not challenge the government. You will surely lose.”
The detractors of the President have been waiting for a crisis such as the global pandemic to launch their attack since Rody has not offered them any other opening as a result of his high public approval.