Priest tells Tiangco: Have pity on curfew violators
A parish priest in Navotas City has appealed for leniency from the local government, saying the P3,500 bail being imposed on arrested quarantine violators was a “high price to pay” for those already struggling to feed their families every day.
In a phone interview with the Inquirer, the priest, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal from the local government, explained that church leaders in the city were the ones providing food for at least 50 violators previously crammed into a classroom at Navotas National High School.
Volunteers of the feeding program “Hapag ni San Jose” gave around 400 packs of lunch for the detainees on April 16.
“The P3,500 bail is a high price to pay since these people only went out of their homes to feed their families. We call on the local government to instead allow them to do community service work,” the priest said.
He added that a youth volunteer from their parish who was distributing relief goods was also apprehended by the Navotas police. According to him, the detainees were not being fed and had to rely on food brought by their relatives or given away by the church.
“Some detainees who were already transferred to the Navotas Sports Complex on Wednesday morning were in tears since they could not afford the P3,500 bail. They still have to provide food for their families, so where can they get the money?” the priest said.
Mayor Toby Tiangco, however, insisted that those arrested were not searching for food and had instead been loitering in the streets or drinking liquor.
Under City Ordinance No. 2020-06, only those reporting for work as part of a skeletal force and buying essential goods such as food are allowed outside their homes during the 24-hour curfew.
“How about those who do not want to be infected by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)? Now their argument is that their families’ health is at risk?” Tiangco said.
“If they do not want their loved ones to be infected, then they should stay inside their homes. Why community service? Does COVID-19 accept community service?” he argued.
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