QC unit under fire for ‘excessive force’ on fish vendor not wearing face mask
MANILA, Philippines — A labor group on Wednesday called on the Oplan Task Force Disiplina of Quezon City to issue a public apology for beating and dragging a fish vendor who failed to wear a face mask and bring a quarantine pass while selling outdoors.
Josua Mata, Secretary General of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), said the group “denounces in the strongest possible way” the “atrocious behavior” of the local officers of the task force.
Mata also called on Mayor Joy Belmonte to “thoroughly” investigate the incident and punish those found to have used “excessive force.”
“We also demand that the Oplan Task Force Disiplina issue a public apology to Michael Rubuia and foot the bill for all his medical expenses,” he said in a statement.
He was referring to the incident on Monday concerning fish vendor Michael Rubuia whom authorities apprehended along Panay Avenue in Quezon City for not wearing a face mask.
A video of the incident was shared on social media, showing local authorities dragging Rubuia towards an L300 van while another man held a wooden stick and kept hitting him.
“We are gravely concerned over this growing pattern of abusive behavior among security forces, obviously emboldened by the authoritarian mindset that’s now pervading the lockdown mentality of government!” he added.
To prevent more “abuses,” Mata then called on all local government units to train their security officers on how to properly handle quarantine violations.
The Quezon City government said it has begun a “full-blown investigation” into the incident.
Earlier, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said that violators of the enhanced community quarantine would face immediate arrest and inquest proceedings instead of being warned.
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