The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assures the public that the government, especially the PNP, will respect the human rights of the people in the implementation of measures to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said that the public need not fear because the rule of law is upheld by the government. “Wala po tayong dapat ipangamba. Sinusunod po ng gobyerno ang Konstitusyon at ang ating Bill of Rights. Sinabi na po ng Pangulo na ang state of public health emergency sa bansa at ang enhanced community quarantine sa Luzon ay hindi martial law,” he said on Monday.
He said that Usec Martin Diño may have been misquoted or his comments were taken out of context when he allegedly said that human rights is not important during a public health emergency.
“I did not hear the radio interview of Usec. Martin Dino. His statements may have been taken out of context,” he said.
“Nonetheless, I wish to emphasize that the DILG upholds human rights in all its programs including the fight against COVID-19. The Secretary has always encouraged the public to report abusive LGU officials and PNP personnel in their localities. Ang virus ang kalaban natin dito, hindi ang karapatang pantao,” he said.
“The current restrictions imposed such as social distancing and home quarantine are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory in application, of limited duration, and proportionate to achieve the objective of spreading the deadly virus,” he added.
Malaya said that the DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-062 dated March 21, 2020 particularly states that there should be no violation of human rights. Local government units (LGUs) are directed to ensure that no quarantine patrol staff nor any employee or officer granted authority by it to perform tasks relative to the implementation and maintenance of the enhanced community quarantine shall commit any violation of human rights.
“The DILG encourages the public to report abuse on the part of LGU officials and police personnel in their localities. Bukas ang DILG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) public hotline numbers para sa patuloy nating ugnayan at pagresponde sa isyu sa inyong mga lokalidad,” he said.
The DILG EOC hotlines for Globe subscribers are 09274226300 and 09150054535; for Smart are 09617721668 and 09613849272; and the landline trunkline is (02) 88763454 local 8801 to 8815.
“Hindi po tulad sa ibang bansa, dito sa Pilipinas ay transparent ang ating pamahalaan na ipaalam sa mamamayan ang tunay na estado ng ating sitwasyon. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression such as in social media are not restricted,” he said.
Malaya noted that another demonstration of DILG’s sensitivity to people’s rights is its issuance of a memo circular to LGUs urging them to ensure that the food relief operations to be distributed to Muslim communities are halal compliant during the enhanced community quarantine by coordinating with its attached agency, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
“Tinitiyak po ng DILG na wala tayong dapat ipangamba. Ang Covid-19 ang ating kalaban, hindi ang gobyerno. Let us continue to stay home and safe with our families. Let us be one in this National Week of Prayer this fourth week of March 2020,” he said.