CHR to gov’t: Sustain info drive on pandemic health protocols
MANILA, Philippines — Rather than using a “yantok” (rattan stick), law enforcers should continue and ramp up information campaigns on the health hazards of stepping out of one’s residence amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 )pandemic, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Saturday.
CHR spokeswoman Atty. Jacqueline De Guia, in a statement, also cautioned the government on the unnecessary use of force of law enforcers, which may lead to “humiliation and trauma” of the public.
“Violence, even in its slightest suggestion, is not the best way to address the pandemic,” De Guia said.
“Rather, [the] government should continue to employ information dissemination to make the people understand the hazards of going out in the midst of a pandemic, as well as implement programs guided by the sound advice of science and health professionals,” she added.
Last Friday, Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield chief Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag threatened that “social distancing patrollers” deployed around public establishments in Metro Manila will use a “yantok” should the public refuse to follow health protocols in public, such as social distancing, this holiday season.
De Guia said that while the CHR recognizes the “unknown nature” the pandemic has pushed the government to enforce “different, novel” ways in enforcing health protocols, the Commission has “repeatedly stressed the importance of respecting the human rights and dignity of all as we address this health crisis.”
“We stress that the pandemic is not a peace and order issue, but a public health agenda,” De Guia said. “
The public should also be equally reminded to follow these health protocols strictly.”
“At this point, it is quite obvious that [the] virus already has affected the economy as well. It is true that different interests must be balanced, but human rights should never be compromised,” she added.
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