PNP to shoot quarantine violators only as 'last resort'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — The Philippine National Police said Thursday there's nothing new with President Rodrigo Duterte's order to shoot and kill unruly violators of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine once they become a threat to law enforcers' lives.

"It is just like self-preservation, you know in any law enforcement function, eh that's why we have issued firearms because we're given the discretion on when to use it," PNP Chief General Archie Gamboa told CNN Philippines in a phone interview.

Gamboa clarified that in maintaining peace and order, the police will fight back only when they are attacked first.

"You only use this as a last resort, and it has been thought to the PNP's personnel since magsimula sila sa training hanggang sa kanilang (they started training until their) career courses," he added.

He was asked if the PNP would follow the President's order, which has gained criticisms. Duterte in a speech Wednesday night said, “My orders are sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay, na pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead!"

[Translation: My orders to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you nd your lives are endangered, shoot them dead!]

Duterte's statement was widely seen as a response to an earlier protest in Quezon City where dozens of residents of Sitio San Roque claimed they have not received any aid from the local government. The Quezon City government has denied this, saying there has been continuous distribution of food packs across the city.

Lawmakers, human rights advocates, and leftist groups have condemned Duterte's statement, saying his administration should address the pleas of the poor instead of resorting to violence.

READ: Groups, lawmakers condemn Duterte's order vs. lockdown violators