President Rodrigo Duterte during his nation address on the coronavirus disease pandemic on April 1, 2020.
Video grab from RTVM Youtube channel
News stories on Duterte’s ‘shoot them’ remark trends in COVID-stricken West states
Marlon Luistro (Philstar.com) - April 4, 2020 - 12:20pm

BATANGAS, Philippines (The Filipino Connection) — As countries worry about how their governments will save their economies, news reports of some news outlets in four countries on the Philippine president’s latest quarantine "policy" trended in these countries.

Statistics as of April 3 from social media engagement tracking firm NewsWhip showed that so far, the president’s orders to shoot violators of the Philippines' enhanced community quarantine measures was among the top 10 stories in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. 

Stories were courtesy of the online editions of three newspapers and the newssites of two broadcast networks.

A report by Christine Capatides for the online site of leading American television network CBS News (cbsnews.com), headlined “Shoot them dead: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte orders police and military to kill citizens who defy coronavirus lockdown,” topped the US' trending stories in April 3. Capatides' story generated 1,198,262 predicted interactions.

A close second --with 815,275 predicted interactions-- was the report published by Jessica Schaldebeck for the century-old New York Daily News (nydailynews.com): “Philippine president gives authorities okay to shoot those violating coronavirus lockdown orders.” 

In the United Kingdom, the news about Duterte was also the talk of the town. Dave Burke's news report for The Mirror's online edition (mirror.co.uk), on President Duterte’s orders generated 207,406 predicted interactions. That story became the third most trending in the European country, NewsWhip's news tracking data showed.

About 125,577 predicted interactions were also generated by a report on the Philippine president’s latest order by the French daily newspaper Le Parisien (leparisien.fr) the second top trending news story in France. 

The story was written by Le Parisien reporter "S. Co," with added details from the French news agency Agence France Presse.

The president’s remarks were also talk of the town in the virus-hit Italy, where the online news site of all-news Italian channel TG Sky24 (sky.it) generated 150,630 predicted interactions for the said report, the second most trending in the country.

In a late-night televised addressed to the nation Wednesday,  Duterte warned he would shoot dead anyone who creates trouble during the month-long Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine enforced to stop the spread of the new coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 that causes COVID-19.

The president's  remarks came hours after about 21 Quezon City residents were arrested for asking assistance and protesting without a permit. It was not clear as of press time which group or groups is/are responsible for the assembly in the said city, which has the country's highest number of COVID-19 cases.

Filipino human rights groups Karapatan and Human Rights Watch have denounced the president’s so-called “dangerous” shoot-to-kill order against quarantine violators, which they feared may lead to more abuse.

Data as of April 4 from the COVID-19 case tracking website http://ncov2019.live show that the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases (277,467). Italy is second (119,827), France sixth (64,338) and the United Kingdom eighth (38,168).

The Philippines, says the COVID-19 online tracker, is 30th (3,018).

News outlets worldwide frequently report about how governments in these news organizations' home countries try to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. A major news item in these countries is how governments roll out economic stimulus packages to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Filipino Connection is a regional partner of Philstar.com.

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