President Rodrigo Duterte on April 15, 2021, broached the idea of turning hotels into isolation facilities for individuals infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a taped public address, Duterte said he could wield his police power to take over the hotels’ operations if the Covid-19 situation in the country worsens.
“I am not without power. When we are pushed to the wall, either by the microbe itself or by external, internal, I can always order the military and the police to go there and confiscate the operation of the hotels,” he said.
Duterte said he would not hesitate to order the conversion of hotels into Covid-19 facilities, in case National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III tell him that hospitals run out of space due to rising Covid-19 infections.
He said he would ask owners to allow the government to transform their hotels into quarantine facilities.
“Kapag sinabi na (If they say) we are at a critical condition, there is no space for the doctors and the nurses to move and stay healthy, then we begin to exercise the police power of the state,” he said. “Sabihin ko sa hotel, adre, pasensya ka na. Kailangan ko ‘yong hotel mo. Hiramin ko lang (I will apologize to hotel owners but I need to borrow their facilities).”
Duterte, however, acknowledged that the takeover of hotels is not a remedy.
“That is not really what you would call a remedy desired in a democratic state,” he said.
‘We know what to do’
Despite the alarming spike in Covid-19 cases, Duterte ensured that the government knows how to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duterte guaranteed that the government is exhausting all efforts to contain the coronavirus.
“Do not be afraid. Government is working. Government is busy doing everything, not nothing. Government is trying to get the things to fix all of us,” he said.
Duterte added that he had picked the “bright” and “right” people to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.
“I’d like to just disabuse the mind of na nagkulang tayo ([other people who are claiming] that we are lacking),” he said. “We are not really at a total loss of what to do. We know what to do.”
The Philippines on Thursday logged 11,429 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total case count to 904,285.
The country has reported a total of 183,527 active cases, 705, 164 recoveries, and 15,594 deaths. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlo, PNA)