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The President of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has claimed that the police and the military have been given powers to 'shoot dead' anyone who 'causes trouble' during the country's month-long lockdown as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
President Duterte said that it is of vital importance that citizens of the South Asian country should comply with the government's imposed quarantine of the island of Luzon.
So far, 96 people have died and 2,311 have been infected in The Philippines. Its health service, already fragile, is being pushed to the limit by the number of cases in the country.
Speaking in a televised address, the controversial leader said: "It's getting worse. So once again I'm telling you the seriousness of the problem and that you must listen.
"My orders to the police and military, if there is trouble and there's an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead.
"Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you."
This latest announcement comes after a protest was organised in a neighbourhood of the capital, Manila.
Residents refused to go back to their homes because they claimed that they had not received relief supplies and food parcels that they had been promised.
Reports in local media suggest that 20 people were arrested after the protest was dispersed by the police.
Now, the president of the country has suggested that more dramatic and dangerous courses of action are possible.
President Duterte has been criticised by activists who accuse him of being overly violent and encouraging vigilante behaviour.
This is similar to his attitude to the country's war on drugs, which has seen people killed by unknown gunmen as well as police for suspected narcotics crimes.
However, the law enforcement agencies of The Philippines claim that their anti-drugs campaigns have been a success.
As has often been the case with Mr Duterte's outbursts, it is said that he is merely trying to use hyperbole to ensure that the rules are followed.
The national police chief said on Thursday that whilst Mr Duterte's remarks showed how serious he was regarding the rules that have been put in place, no-one is actually going to be shot.
Mr Duterte also spoke about the medical staff in the country who have been outraged after suffering physical abuse and discrimination.
Duterte said that this is a 'serious crime' that must be stopped.
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