DILG: No rights violation in tracking lockdown violators on social media
MANILA, Philippines — Inspecting social media for photos and videos as evidence to apprehend lockdown violators will not infringe the rights of netizens, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday.
“We encourage the public kung mayroon kayong nakita, kuhanan ninyo ng picture, i-upload ninyo at gagawan namin ng action ‘yun lang talaga. Kailangan ng vigilance but we do not infringe on the rights of our people, ‘yan namang social media is for everyone,” he said over CNN Philippines in response to the plan of Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield to scan social media for lockdown violators.
(We encourage the public that if you see violators, take photos and upload and then we will take action. We need vigilance but we do not infringe on the rights of our people. Social media is for everyone.)
Human-rights groups on Sunday warned the police force that regularly monitoring social media for lockdown violators is a breach of privacy rights.
But Año defended the police’s proposal to check social media platforms, saying authorities have been using social media as proof when probing violators of COVID-19 health protocols.
“Actually, dati na ginagawa ‘yan. Karamihan sa start ng investigation natin ay galing sa mga report ng concerned citizens sa social media. Na-highlight na masyado at talagang ginagawa na natin yan at magandang source of information ang social media lalo na yung nag-ce-celebrate ng fiesta, nag-co-coronation pa sila, Expect mo na magkakaroon talaga ng surge doon,” he said.
(Actually, we have been doing that. Most of our investigation starts with reports of concerned citizens on social media. It has been highlighted and we are actually doing that and social media is a good source of information especially if they celebrate fiesta or some would even have a coronation ceremony. Expect that there will be a surge of virus there.)
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the quarantine enforcer JTF COVID Shield, directed all police commanders to scan social media for individuals violating minimum health standards.
The latest data from JTF COVID Shield showed that more than 375,000 people nationwide were either warned, detained or fined for violating quarantine policies since March 17.
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