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'Problema ko ang Pilipino': Duterte warns brgy captains of arrest for failing to ban mass gathering

By Kaela Patricia Gabriel

PHOTO: PCOO

Due to several reports of mass gatherings from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), President Rodrigo Duterte has warned barangay captains who allow superspreader events in their area that they will be arrested and filed with charges. 

In his Talk to the People address, Duterte has ordered the police to arrest barangay officials and charge them of "dereliction of duty" in failure to enforce COVID-19 protocols beginning May 26.

"Pasaway eh. Iyan ang problema ko, ang Pilipino. Much as we would like to reduce the COVID cases, eh kung ganoon ang ginagawa ninyo, walang katapusan na itong p***** i**** ‘to," Duterte's response to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año's reports of mass gatherings in the country despite quarantine measures.

Año also highlighted several "superspreader" events such as the Gubat sa Ciudad incident in Caloocan wherein 20 became positive to COVID-19 in May 9, parties in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon wherein 54 were positive, and the picnic and swimming in Norzagaray, Barangay Matictic, Bakas River in May 23 where the contact tracing is still ongoing.

"Superspreader" events are mass gatherings that contribute to the increase of COVID-19 cases such as parties, swimming, and picnics.

"Kasi magpa-barangay captain kayo, persons in authority tapos wala kayong gawin, hindi kayo tumulong sa national government, you are not doing anything, then I will order your arrest," the President said.

"Huwag ninyo akong pilitin na talagang pahirapan ko kayo," Duterte told barangay officials.

Duterte later on suggested several ways how barangay officials should deal with quarantine violators such as arresting them and hitting them in their hands and feet if they refuse to surrender with the authorities.