Philippine human rights agency calls on govt. against ‘use of force’ in pandemic protocols


The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday cautioned the government on the unnecessary use of force by law enforcers and should instead ramp up information campaigns on the health hazards brought by the pandemic.

CHR spokeswoman Atty. Jacqueline De Guia, in a statement, cautioned the government on the unnecessary use of force by 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, the police have threatened that “social distancing patrollers” deployed around public establishments in Metro Manila will use a rattan sticks to enforce social distancing.

Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield chief Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag announced law enforcers will be deployed to enforce health safeguards, such as physical distancing, in public areas this coming 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. (Source: INQUIRER.Net)