CHR to PNP: Review ban on ‘hatid-sundo’ for APORs during ECQ
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) hopes that the Philippine National Police (PNP) would review and reconsider a new policy that bans the “hatid-sundo” (ushering-fetching) practice for authorized person outside of residence (APORs), as it would deprive workers of a safe way to travel.
Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said on Wednesday that CHR fully understands the reason as to why PNP is looking at banning these practices during the Metro Manila-wide lockdown — to prevent people from abusing the alibi — saying frontliners like health workers and essential industry personnel along with other APORs should not be deprived of their rights.
This is also putting other frontliners and APORs at greater danger as the ban may translate to overcrowding in public transportation modes.
“While the CHR fully understands the government’s move to manage the surge of infection brought about by the COVID Delta variant, APORs, including medical frontline workers and those working in essential establishments, such as restaurants, supermarkets, and banks among others, should not be deprived access to a safe way of commuting,” De Guia said.
“The [PNP’s] plan to ban the practice of fetching APORs to and from their workplaces jeopardizes their ability to carry out their crucial roles in combatting the pandemic. It also exposes them to a higher risk of infection as there is no guarantee that there are enough public utility vehicles available during ECQ,” she added.
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said fetching and bringing APORs to and from their workplaces and homes would not be allowed as this may be used as an excuse to escape the stay at home during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over the National Capital Region.
“‘Yun pong workforce APOR na lalabas dahil sila ay magtratrabaho, papaano naman daw kung di sila mag-drive at magpapahatid na lang sila sa kotse o motorsiklo? Ngayon po, kung kayo ay workforce APOR e hindi ka pupuwede magpahatid kung hindi ka marunong mag-drive,” Eleazar said in an interview with Teleradyo.
(The workforce APOR who will go out to work, how would it be if they don’t drive and they just let others to drive them in a car or motorcycle? Now, if you are workforce APOR you can’t do this if you can’t drive.)
“Ito po yung pwedeng abusuhin e. Ano ba naman yung magda-drive ka magisa sa sasakyan, hindi ka APOR, tapos sasabihin mo ‘Ay pasensya, ako po’y naghatid’ o kaya ‘Ako’y pupunta sa isang lugar susunduin ko po si doktora o kung sino man,’” he added.
(The practice can be abused. There could be someone driving alone and you are not APOR, they can just say sorry they drove someone to work or they will just fetch the doctor or whoever.)
But CHR believes that the risk of frontliners’ travel being hampered is worse than the possible abuses that may come with it. Instead, what could be done is to require drivers to present documentary proof that they are indeed fetching or bringing frontliners to or from work.
“The negative impact on frontliners’ ability to perform their duties is far worse than the harm or abuse they seek to prevent from this policy,” De Guia said.
“We call on the PNP to review this measure and put into consideration the welfare of our APORs. The issue of alleged abuse of this ‘hatid-sundo’ scheme raised by the authorities can be addressed by requiring documentary proof that the passengers and driver of the vehicle are indeed APORs or authorized persons to fetch APORs,” she added.
De Guia said that the government must create policies that would not burden the contributions of frontline health workers and other APORs.
“Instead of causing additional burden, the government must recognise the invaluable contributions of frontline health and service workers and seek ways on how to support them in fulfilling their duties,” she noted.
Metro Manila is set to go under an ECQ status again, from August 6 to 20, due to the threat of the Delta variant over the country.
This will be the third time that Metro Manila is under an ECQ after the Luzon-wide lockdown in March 2020 — first in August 2020, second during the Alpha variant-led surge last March 2021, and then this latest ECQ declaration.
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