A man is seen wearing a mask with the name of President Duterte and his election campaign slogan on April 5, 2020 in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines.

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened on Thursday to enforce martial law across the country, citing reported attacks on soldiers delivering coronavirus aid by communist rebels.
  • "I am now warning everybody, I am putting notice to the armed forces and police," he said during a coronavirus press conference on Friday morning local time, adding that there would be "no turning back" from the measure once in place.
  • Duterte has taken an aggressive approach to curb the coronavirus spread in the Philippines and has threatened to "shoot dead" those who flout the country's lockdown restrictions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened on Thursday to enforce martial law across the country, citing reported attacks on soldiers delivering coronavirus aid by communist rebels.

Speaking at a televised coronavirus press conference on Friday morning local time, Duterte said there would be "no turning back" from the measure once in place.

"I am now warning everybody, I am putting notice to the armed forces and police," he said. "I might declare martial law and there will be no turning back."

According to CNN Philippines, he also promised to "finish" all of the communist group members before his presidential term ended in 2022.

The Philippines army claimed that rebels carried out an attack on soldiers distributing coronavirus aid money in the northeastern Aurora province on Tuesday. Two soldiers were killed and three other soldiers were wounded in the gunfire exchange, according to the army, who blamed the attacks on the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines that is designated as a terrorist group by the Philippine government.

The Philippine government has long clashed with the NPA, although both sides have recently agreed to a ceasefire. The government's ceasefire expired on April 15, while the rebels have declared their ceasefire until April 30.

Duterte's spokesperson, Harry Roque, said on Monday that there was growing opposition against extending the ceasefire due to several recent incidents where he claimed rebels forcibly seized coronavirus aid meant for rural areas.

Duterte has taken an aggressive approach to curb the coronavirus spread in the Philippines. As of Thursday evening, the country recorded 6,981 cases and 462 deaths.

Earlier this month, Duterte said that those who flout lockdown restrictions in place will be shot dead by the military: "My orders to the police and the military, if anyone creates trouble, and their lives are in danger: Shoot them dead."

The country has also been using water cannons to disinfect streets and has left open coffins on the streets to deter people from going outside.