Philippines’s Duterte threatens to shoot those causing ‘trouble’ amid coronavirus
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned late Wednesday that those who resisted government officials attempting to enforce quarantine and stay-at-home measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus could be shot.
Reuters reported that Duterte ordered members of the military and police in an address Wednesday night to shoot residents who resisted Duterte’s home quarantine measures by “fight[ing] back” or otherwise endangering officials.
“My orders to the police and military … if there is trouble and there’s an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead,” the president said. “Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you.”
“It is getting worse,” Duterte said of the coronavirus epidemic, which has infected more than 2,600 people in the country. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 107 people have died in the Philippines from the virus.
Reuters reported that the comments came after some reports of protests over food in a poor area of Manila. There were also reportedly some arrests made.
The country’s top police chief clarified Thursday that Duterte’s words were not to be taken literally and that no one would be shot over the coronavirus home-quarantine orders, according to Reuters.
The strong-arm tactics are reminiscent of Duterte’s war against drug traffickers and dealers in his country, which has reportedly resulted in mass killings of suspected drug dealers.
Top international rights groups including Amnesty International have urged investigations into Duterte’s anti-drug campaign in the country, calling him guilty of “crimes against humanity.”