unrecognizable couple holding hands on street

From war on drugs to “war on love”: PNP now prohibits “PDA”

couple holding hands
(Image: Unsplash/Tanny Do)

No one told us that LDR now stands for “Love in Duterte’s Rule.”

In a recent radio interview, the Philippine National Police, through its spokesperson Lt. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, reiterated its thrust to combat COVID-19 by discouraging public displays of affection or PDA.

During the interview on DZMM Teleradyo, Usana explained that the due reminder comes as more commercial and recreational spaces have opened up to revive the economy, which can be ideal spots for couples to show their affections to their partners. Hugging, touching, holding hands, and kissing in public remain prohibited even as more establishments have let up, per the police.

Kasi din po, ‘yan kasi alam naman po natin dahil nag-reopen for a while ang economy marami pong namamasyal, marami po mga tao na sadya talagang na-miss din nila ‘yung kanilang pagsasamahan,” Usana said. 

“Infection happens to families, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. People should maintain being cautious from the spread of the virus. And if you love your spouse, your children, you have to be aware of the minimum health and safety protocols,” Usana added.

The reiteration of rules also coincides with reports claiming that the recent COVID-19 cases are coming from entire families, or people living in the same household. In the past week, the Philippines tallied upwards of 3,000 cases.

Kahit naman po since the start of the restrictions, bawal naman po ang mga PDA talaga, bawal po magtabi at magkakausap nang malapitan ang sinuman, bawal po ang pagpunta sa mga matataong lugar na nagsisiksikan ang bawat isa. Alam po ng mga tao ang bawal po,“ the PNP spokesperson clarified.

“War against love”

Many took the reminder in jest. However, on Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto seemed only to be half-joking when he chided the PNP’s pronouncement for declaring a “war against love” instead of against the pandemic. He also called these new rules during LDR, or “Love in Duterte’s Rule” as bordering “on the absurd.”

“If these are the new rules of romantic engagement during LDR–Love in Duterte’s Rule–then I believe that the President would not agree to it. If all acts of public display of affection are prohibited–harmless kisses, holding hands, hugs–then the rules border on the absurd,” Recto said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto seemed only to be half-joking when he chided the PNP’s pronouncement for declaring a “war against love” instead of against the pandemic.  PDA

Recto then questioned the specific nuances of the rules. He asked whether a wife holding onto her husband while back-riding on a motorcycle, or a kid doing the “mano” gesture” to their grandparents would also be apprehended. 

He then expressed doubt over the need to discourage public displays of affection between couples who share the same bed.

Ang bait naman ni COVID that it doesn’t harm couples making out in private. This is a scientific eureka moment worthy of a Nobel Prize,” the senator said in jest.

With seriousness this time, Senator Recto reproved the police’s approach: “Communication is an important tool in fighting the pandemic. Words can move — and frighten — a nation. When you wield a loud microphone, don’t treat it like a police whistle you can blow anytime.”


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