Martial law

I would bet that majority of Filipinos applauded the statement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last night (April 16, 2020) that he might place Metro Manila and Luzon under martial law because of the still big number of quarantine violators, including some who were caught engaged in illegal cockfighting (“sabong”) and drinking liquor despite the ban.

The country suffers from a serious problem arising from a lack of a collective, national discipline. In the view of many people, there’s too much democracy in our society. This leads some Filipinos to take authority for granted. They put too much weight on human rights and freedom at the expense of society’s right to self-preservation. Nowhere is this more apparent than what we have witnessed during the last one month.

It’s a sad testimony to the deterioration of Filipino society to a point that “self” tends to feel more important than “us”. As President Duterte said in his message to the nation, the quarantine is not only to protect individuals from catching the corona virus disease; equally as important is making sure a carrier of the disease, unaware that he or she is infected, does not spread it to others.

I think President Duterte should not delay this decision. He must place Metro Manila particularly under a state of martial law. Not only will this enable the military and police to enforce the lockdown. It will also suspend the laws and make it possible to arrest those who undermine the government’s effort to contain the disease. This power should cover individuals who spread fake news to sow fear and panic.

For quite some time now, I have advocated that President Duterte establish a revolutionary government. This is the perfect time to do it.