Año: Human rights won’t be violated under Metro-wide community quarantine
MANILA, Philippines – Human rights violations will not happen while the entire National Capital Region (NCR) is on a community quarantine due to the COVID-19, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Sunday.
According to Año, it was saddening that some sectors think that the Metro Manila quarantine ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday is a prelude to military rule.
“Wala pong human rights na maba-violate sa pagpapairal ng community quarantine na ito. Mayroon po tayong protocol na sinusunod at magalang po kayong kakausapin ng ating mga kapulisan kung saan kayo papunta, ano ang inyong pakay, at iba pa,” he said in a statement.
(There are no human rights that would be violated while implementing the community quarantine. We have protocols being followed and police officers would be courteously asking you where would you be going and what would be your reason for traveling.)
“Nakakalungkot na sa panahong ganito na sinusubok ang ating bansa ay naiisip pa ng iba nating mga kababayan na akusahan ang pamahalaan nang paggamit sa krisis na ito para pairalin diumano ang batas militar. This is a global public health emergency not martial law,” he added.
(It is saddening that in such times where the country is being challenged, some of our countrymen would accuse our government of using the crisis to implement a martial law.)
After Duterte announced the lockdown, several personalities, netizens, and those from militant groups expressed concern over the number of police officers and military personnel being deployed to implement the quarantine. People claimed that the government’s solution should be based on health reasons and not a militarized approach.
However, Malacañang officials refuted the assertions, saying that the lockdown is merely because of the rising COVID-19 cases. As of now, 111 persons in the Philippines have tested positive for COVID-19, with eight deaths.
READ: ‘Walang namamatay sa gutom,’ says Panelo amid criticism on NCR lockdown
Worldwide, there are over 152,000 persons infected, while 5,801 individuals have died. Most of the incidents and the casualties came from China, the virus’ place of origin.
Año said that police officers who would abuse their mandate during the lockdown should reported to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“We assure the public that our police officers manning the checkpoints will follow all laws and regulations in enforcing the community quarantine. If there are abuses, please report that to DILG and we will act on it immediately,” he said.
“Sa pagkakataong magresist ang ating mga kababayan, doon pa lang ipapatupad ng ating kapulisan ang batas ng walang nilalabag na karapatang pantao. Samantala, atin din namang parurusahan ang mga pulis na mapapatunayang nang-aabuso ng ating mga kakabayan,” he says.
(If our countrymen resist authorities, police would only then implement the laws without violating their human rights. On the other hand, we would punish officers who would be proven to have abused people.)
In light of the checkpoints, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya laid down the procedures that should be followed for the police checkpoints:
- Checkpoints must be well-lighted, properly identified, and manned by uniformed police officers;
- Upon approach, slow down, dim headlights and turn on cabin lights.
- Questions about purpose of travel will be asked. Police officers shall be courteous but firm. Be ready to submit company IDs, government issued ID cards, certificate of employment, SEC registration and other documents to prove purpose of travel is among the allowable exemptions to the travel ban.
- Police officers may request driver’s license, other valid ID cards, and car registration.
- Police are only allowed to do a visual search.
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