By Aaron Recuenco
A ranking official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) rejected on Saturday arguments linking the stricter security in Metro Manila to human rights, as he appealed to some people to stop making excuses for them not to comply with precautionary and preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Wala tayong nilalabag na karapatang pantao. In fact, ginagawa natin ito para sa karapatan nating mabuhay (We are not violating human rights. In fact, we are doing these for our right to live),” PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in an interview.
“So we are appealing to everybody to cooperate. Metro Manila has been declared as a community quarantine place, and it means for people here to stay at home as much as possible and for outsiders not to enter if they have no business to be here.”
Based on the protocol the PNP helped draft, people will only be allowed to enter Metro Manila if they work in any part of the metropolis, if they have to deliver basic necessities, or if they are members of medical teams or response teams of the government and the private sector.
But Eleazar said they will only be allowed to enter if they present a company identification card and possibly other documents that would prove their presence here in Metro Manila is a necessity.
“There’s no work stoppage order so people living outside Metro Manila will still be allowed entry,” said Eleazar.
For those living within Metro Manila, Eleazar said they encourage them to just stay at home since their movement from their place of residence to any part of Metro Manila will also be checked.
Eleazar said the PNP will take charge of the conduct of checkpoints, regular patrolling, and implementation of curfew. But he said they will be augmented by personnel from the military, Coast Guard, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Despite the stricter measures, Eleazar was quick to clarify that there is no lockdown order for Metro Manila.
“This is not a total lockdown. In fact, this goes with the appeal to the people to stay in their houses as much as possible and cooperate with the security and safety measures because what is at stake here is public health,” Eleazar said.