Metro cops now assign ‘human rights officers’ in rallies | Inquirer News
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Metro cops now assign ‘human rights officers’ in rallies

MANILA, Philippines—Three policemen wearing black “Human Rights Officer” vests looked out of place, on Tuesday, in a sea of Labor Day protesters, who received with hesitation, disbelief and suspicious stares, the info-comics the three cops were distributing.

But Superintendent Datumama Mokalid, head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Regional Human Rights Affairs Office, confided that he has gotten used to the behavior of protesters towards his group whenever they handed out the comics and complaint sheets.  He said his group has been doing this since 2011.

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“We have been going around mass protests and handing these out to inform protesters of their rights,” Mokalid told the Inquirer.

The human rights office of the NCRPO is composed of three teams, each composed of eight policemen from the regional office, two personnel of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and a chaplain.

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“Through our activities, we have been able to allow cooler heads to prevail when there is tension between the protesters and the civil disturbance management personnel,” Mokalid said, citing last year’s protests during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the standoff with the members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).

When one of Mokalid’s men handed a protester a complaint sheet, the recipient looked quizzically at the policeman who had to explain what it was for.

The sheet was in the form of an affidavit, where a victim of human rights violation could indicate the specific complaint.

The info-comics that the policemen distributed was entitled “Anino ng Batas” (shadow of the law), which discussed in graphic form the writs of amparo, habeas corpus, and habeas data.

Mokalid said, “We have been doing this for several times already but we hardly get noticed.”

He confided that sometimes, other policemen taunted them for informing the protesters of their rights, saying that they were going against their colleagues.

“I only tell them that upholding human rights is the same as enforcing the law. The law is specifically enacted to protect human rights,” Mokalid stressed.

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TAGS: Datumama Mokalid, Human rights, Laws, Metro, News, Police, Policemen
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