Malacañang on Wednesday, June 24, said that seeking help from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to enforce the enhanced community quarantine in Cebu City should not be compared to being under martial law.

“We’ve normally done this, resorted to asking the Armed Forces to perform civilian duties.

So this is not martial law. This has been decided upon by the Supreme Court. And this is as far as enforcing the ECQ in Cebu is concerned,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

“Normally, we have the police enforcing it but if the police is not enough, then the Armed Forces can also enforce the lockdown,” he added.

Last week, the city of Cebu reverted to ECQ after registering an alarming number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and fatalities.

President Rodrigo Duterte directed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a retired military general, to oversee the COVID-19 situation in Cebu and exercise “all powers” to slow down the spread of the virus.

“He will go there, he will find out what the situation on the ground is, he will make not just recommendations but will implement what he thinks should be done in a period of one week, and all he has to do is keep the Inter-Agency Task Force posted on the steps being taken,” Roque said.

“He (Cimatu) has to do whatever that has to be done. There’s now a hierarchy of laws that we’re following here. And, of course, the mandate of General Cimatu comes from the president himself backed up by an executive order. He can exercise all powers that the president can exercise, he has been the beneficiary of delegated authority from the president,” he added.

Roque also said that the president can issue an executive order to give legal validity to any of Cimatu’s actions.

“All the actions of Gen. Cimatu are tantamount to being acts of the President and if need be, the President will issue executive orders to give legal validity to any of the actions taken by Gen. Cimatu,” he said.

As of Wednesday, Cebu City recorded 4,216 infections of COVID-19.

12 barangays, deemed “hotspots” in Cebu, were locked down to contain the spread of the virus: Sambag Dos, Kamputhaw, Sambag Uno, Basak San Nicolas, Mabolo, Guadalupe, Lahug, Duljo, Tinago, Tisa, Ermita, and Tejero.

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