Hontiveros rejects plans to deploy AFP, PNP to enforce health protocols
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros does not approve of the proposal to send military and police personnel to enforce social distancing protocols and consequently arrest those who violate said rules amid the spike in Covid-19 cases.
The opposition legislator called out the militaristic approach and that this measure is just a repeat of the mistakes done in 2020 when the Philippines first imposed the nationwide lockdown.
“Wag namang puro na lang lessons, pero wala namang learning. Ano ito, throwback sa 2020? Hindi ba tayo natututo na hindi gumagana o nakakatulong ang mass arrests? Magsisiksikan lang ang mga tao sa mga kulungan. Lalo lang magkakahawahan,” said Hontiveros in a statement Wednesday.
(Let us not just live on lessons without learning anything. What’s this a throwback of 2020? Haven’t we learned anything that mass arrests do not help? People will just be cramped in one place making the transmission even worse.)
The Philippines had the world’s longest and largest lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic and police arrested around 76,000 individuals for breaking social distancing protocols from March 2020 to July 2020.
Those arrests did not lead to a decrease in cases rather it resulted to massive spikes leaving health workers to be overwhelmed in the number of patients forcing them to beg for a two-week break.
The national government is once again pondering sending forces from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to patrol the streets and enforce the health protocols after the country experienced upwards of 3,000 cases a day for the past week.
Hontiveros said that the deployment of uniformed personnel was ineffective and virtually targeted only the poor.
She cited a case wherein five youths were arrested in Laguna during the start of the 2020 lockdown wherein they were detained inside a single dog cage.
“Ang mahihirap lang ang kaya nilang pag-tripan. Kailan pa nilagay ang mayayaman sa detention center o sa dog cage dahil sa mass gatherings o parties nila?” said Hontiveros. “There is a way to enforce stricter health protocols humanely and non-violently, 2021 na. Let’s do this the right way.”
(Only the poor are being targeted and are messed with. When were the rich put in a detention center or in a dog cage because of their mass gatherings and parties?)
“Mag-iisang taon na ang pandemya. Ang dami nang naisakripisyo ng taumbayan. Gobyerno naman ang mag-adjust, and respond to the spike because we care for the welfare of our people. Let’s not beat them when we’re already on the ground.”
(The pandemic is going one year already. The people have sacrificed so much. The government should be the one to adjust and respond to the spike in cases because we care for the welfare of our people. Let’s not beat them when we’re already on the ground.)
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