Duterte threatens martial law if communist rebels disrupt aid

April 24, 2020 - 8:47 AM
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A soldier wearing a protective mask guards a street while children look out from a balcony, as the city undergoes a stricter lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Pasay City, Philippines, April 22, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare martial law if communist rebels disrupted the flow of relief goods for Filipinos impacted by the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, and asked his military to be ready.

“I am now warning everybody, I am putting notice to the armed forces and police. I might declare martial law and there will be no turning back,” he said at the beginning of the meeting on the extension of coronavirus containment measures, which was screened on television on Friday morning.

Duterte has long been at odds with the New People’s Army, worsened by repeated breakdowns in a peace process he launched at the beginning of his presidency. —Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Martin Petty; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman