The Commission on Human Rights on Monday urged the government to reconsider community quarantine rules in which all the elderly, regardless of their circumstances, had their movements restricted.
According to the CHR's Focal Commissioner on Aging and the Rights of Older Persons Karen S. Gomez-Dumpit, the quarantine rules on the elderly, as they stood, prohibited those aged 60 years and above from going outside their homes even in moderate- and low-risk areas for COVID-19.
Dumpit also pointed out that not all older people had pre-existing health conditions and have poor health that made them vulnerable to being severely infected with the novel coronavirus.
Additionally, not all older people lived with a family they could rely on for food and other essential needs.
Because of these circumstances, there were older people who needed to go outside their homes for essential activities, including work and the procurement of basic goods and services.
“We [thus] recommend the relaxation of the rules in the general community quarantine scheme where older people should not be 'prohibited,' but only 'discouraged' from going outside their homes,” reasoned Dumpit.
“This not only respects the autonomy of older people to decide on their own, but it would also protect them from the punitive aspects of the enforcement of the community quarantine.”
The CHR commissioner also urged the national and local governments to intensify the implementation of positive measures that would enable the disadvantaged members of society to comply with quarantine rules.
“For older persons, this includes the speedy distribution of social pension and other cash- and non-cash based assistance for basic necessities while maintaining physical distancing, and the engagement of communities to aid older people in need of any type of assistance and care,” added Dumpit. — DVM, GMA News