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Enhanced quarantine not a license to violate human rights, Roque says


Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is not a license to violate human rights.

Interviewed on GMA News’ Unang Hirit, Roque said the government is open for complaints of human rights violations amid the implementation of the measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).      

“Ito (ECQ) lang po ang tanging paraan para mapabagal  ang pagkalat ng sakit nang sa ganun ay mapaghandaan nang mas mabuti kung magkakaroon ng napakadami pa sa ating kababayan  ang  magkakasakit. Pero hindi po ito license para balewalain na ang batas,” he said.

"Malinaw na ang ECQ ay importante para mapangalagaan ang karapatang mabuhay pero hindi naman dapat gamitin ito para malabag ang ating rule of law,” he reiterated.

Roque cited Pampanga where quarantine violators are reportedly required to render community service such as planting vegetables.

"Siguro po, puwede tayong magkaroon ng ganiyang mga parusa na hindi naman po tayo lumalabag sa karapatang pantao," he said in a televised briefing on Monday.

"Pero ulitin ko po ha, karapatang pantao din ang karapatang mabuhay. At habang nilalabag po natin ang ECQ, eh nagiging banta rin po tayo sa karapatang mabuhay ng ating mga kababayan."

On Sunday, Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said they received more than 200 complaints since the precautionary lockdown against COVID-19 was implemented.

While acknowledging the legality of arrest over curfew violations, De Guia reminded authorities that punishment must be in accordance with the law.

“Doon sa R.A. No. 9745 o Anti-Torture Act nagsasabi na dapat makatao o hindi torture, cruel, humiliating ang punishment,” she said.

De Guia said many of authorities involved violate Section 4, which pertains to physical and psychological torture.

“Yung pagpapahiya, considered mental torture 'yan. Yung pag-expose mo either sa sobrang init o sobrang lamig, considered as physical torture. ‘Yung pinupuwersa mo na gupitin ang buhok, considered as mental torture,” she said.— Virgil Lopez/AOL/RSJ, GMA News

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