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Parading quarantine violators like zombies is punishable, CHR warns

In case you missed it, we now live in a world where a police chief can make quarantine violators parade like  zombies.

Police chief Rollie Pondevilla of Silay, Negros Occidental on Feb. 6  paraded a group of quarantine violators and made sure  they walked erratically like the undead. Apparently, for the  Silay police,  public  shaming is the best way to teach quarantine violators to wear face masks and observe physical distancing.

“Wala akong intention na ipahiya sila. ’Yung sa atin lang, ma-maintain nila ’yung physical distancing para makaiwas sila (sa) Covid-19… kung may intention ako na masama sa kanila, bakit di ko sila ilagay sa police station para magsiksikan sila. Hindi ko ginawa iyon, dahil tinitignan ko safety nila,” Pondevilla reasoned.

(I have no intention to embarrass them. We just want them to maintain social distancing to prevent infection from the virus… If I had  malicious intentions then I could’ve brought them to the police station and crammed them in our overcrowded jail.  I didn’t  do that because I was looking out for  their safety.)

In response to the now-deleted video, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) warned the police to respect human dignity no matter what. “We continuously remind law enforcers to adhere to human rights-based policing, including respect for every person’s dignity. Parading alleged quarantine violators on the streets may amount to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment penalized by Republic Act No. 9745 (Anti-Torture Act) and barred by the Convention Against Torture signed by the Philippines,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia.

It will take effective quarantine measures and proper vaccination schemes for  the country to  fully keep up with the challenges of the pandemic, but conflating policy implementation with disrespect and disregard for human rights? Definitely not the right way to go.

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Art by Yel Sayo


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