April 9, 2020
(Philippines) Arrest of more than 75,000 individuals for curfew violations during Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine
The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the arrest of more than 75,000 individuals for curfew violations during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
According to a news article written by Danielle Nakpil and posted on cnnphilippines.com on April 7, 2020 (https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/4/7/More-than-75,000-individuals-arrested-for-curfew-violations-.html), more than 75,000 individuals have been arrested as of April 3 for violating curfew hours in the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The article cited the report of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee that 75,750 curfew violators have been accosted by the Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield (JTF CoViD Shield).
While the implementation of curfew hours is a measure for the protection of the welfare of citizens and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the police cannot just arrest individuals for violation of health emergency measures. A warrantless arrest may only be done if the individual assaults the law enforcer or is caught committing a crime.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Likewise, the 1987 Philippine Constitution guarantees that no Filipino shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
It is also alarming that there have been reports of arrested individuals having been detained in cramped spaces where it would be impossible for them to practice physical distancing. This defeats the very purpose of the enhanced community quarantine.
Furthermore, in the post of the Philippine National Police on April 8, 2020, in its Facebook account, it mentioned that according to the data of JTF CoViD Shield from March 17 to April 7, a total of 93,242 violators have been accosted nationwide. More than half of the violators were from Luzon. Some of the violators were fined, some were charged, while others are set to be slapped with appropriate charges.
We wish to remind the government that at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the health of the citizens that should be the priority. This crisis should be considered and handled as a health issue, rather than a peace and order situation problem. What the government should focus on is the prevention of the increase of COVID-19 cases, not the increase in the number of individuals arrested.
Please write a letter to the following authorities, urging them to:
A. respect each person’s right to liberty and security and initiate inquiries of possible human rights violations in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine;
B. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of people asserting their rights during the enhanced community quarantine; and
C. ensure in all circumstances, especially in this time of the COVID 19 pandemic, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments signed and ratified by the Philippines.
Please send your letters:
1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building, Malacanang Palace Compound
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
Tel: +632 87368645; +632 87368603; +632-87368606; +632-87368629; +632-87368621
Telefax: +632 87368621
2. Her Excellency Maria Leonor G. Robredo
Vice President, Republic of the Philippines
Reception House 110 11th Street
Brgy. Mariana, New Manila, Quezon City
TL: +632 5346451
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Hon. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
Tel: +632 85218348
Telefax: +632 85262618
Trunkline: +632 85238481 loc 217
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Hon. Eduardo Aňo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Tel: +632 89250330; +632 89250331
Fax: +632 89250332
Trunkline: +632 88763454 loc 1001
5. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Tel: +632 89285655; +632 89266188
Telefax: +632 89290102
6. PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa
Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame, EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1100
Tel: +632 87230401; +632 87220650 local 3453/3473
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