Barangay chairmen who fail to stop mass gatherings in their jurisdictions will be arrested, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday.

His order came after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reported recent incidents of mass gatherings such as picnics and parties.

“Beginning tonight, ‘pag may isa pa, ang unang hulihin ang barangay captain. I’m ordering the police to arrest the barangay captain and bring him to the station, investigate him for being a derelict, of dereliction of duty having failed to enforce the law,” Duterte said.

Duterte said village chiefs, as “persons in authority,” should not permit any form of mass gathering amid the pandemic.

“Kasi magpa-barangay captain kayo, persons in authority tapos wala kayong gawin, hindi kayo tumulong sa national government, you are not doing anything, then I will order your arrest,” he said.

In apprehending violators, Duterte also urged police to use “reasonable force” in cases when violators resist arrest.

“Ito ha, reasonable force. Kung ayaw lang man magsuntok, makipagsuntukan, paluin mo ‘yong kamay o paluin mo ‘yong paa para sumunod sa iyo. You can do that because you have to overcome,” Duterte said.

Año earlier reported that 43,480 violations of public health protocols were recorded in Metro Manila and nearby provinces which were earlier placed under more stringent quarantine.

The country has recorded 1,193,976 Covid-19 cases as of May 26. John Ezekiel J. Hirro