‘Parang tokhang’: Senator hits house-to-house search for COVID-19 patients
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday criticized the government’s decision to send police officers and local government personnel to households to search for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
Hontiveros likened this initiative to “Oplan Tokhang,” the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) controversial campaign against illegal drugs, wherein policemen would visit the homes of suspected drug users and drug dealers to ask them to surrender, and which has since been associated with the deaths of suspects who police claim have resisted arrest and engaged them in a gunfight.
“Parang tokhang pero pang-COVID (This resembles tokhang but for COVID-19 patients)… This may actually discourage more people from reporting their status,” Hontiveros wrote on Twitter.
“We need to improve home- and community-based healthcare. Imbes na pulis, mas kinakailangan ang mga doktor at health workers sa barangay at mga kabahayan. We need more, better barangay-based healthcare, not this,” she added.
(We need to improve home- & community-based healthcare. Instead of policemen, we need more doctors and health workers in barangays and households. We need more, better barangay-based healthcare, not this.)
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said that the government will be visiting households to search for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms so that they can be transferred to monitoring facilities to avoid the further spread of the virus.
This is in line with the government’s “Oplan Kalinga” program, which seeks to transfer COVID-19 patients whose homes are ill-equipped for home quarantine to temporary isolation facilities.
Año noted that individuals who contract the respiratory disease will no longer be allowed to quarantine themselves at home if their households do not have the necessary isolation facilities.
“Ang gagawin natin, sa tulong ng ating LGUs at Philippine National Police ay iba-bahay-bahay po natin ‘yan at dadalhin natin ang ating mga positive sa ating COVID-19 facilities,” Año said in an online press briefing.
(What we will do is that with the help of our LGUs and Philippine National Police, we conduct a house-to-house visit and we will bring those who are positive to our COVID-19 quarantine facilities.)
To date, Philippine health officials have so far confirmed 57,545 COVID-19 cases in the country, including 1,603 deaths and 20,459 recoveries.
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