By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday stressed that it will continue to recognize, respect and uplift human rights despite the strict implementation of the 8pm to 5am curfew hours mandated under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as ordered by the President.
However, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya revealed that there is a strong possibility that the police may take over in the enforcement of the curfew hour law as mounting reports disclosed that the barangay tanods failed miserably in implementing the order.
He reiterated the government’s call for the public to stay home as part of the ECQ to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the police at the helm, Malaya said that stubborn groups might be cowed and be forced to follow the stay home directive.
At present, Malaya said the DILG had received reports of clusters of men playing basketball or roaming the streets particularly along NIA Road in Barangay Pinyahan in Quezon City.
In a message to the stubborn groups, Malaya stressed that the public cannot blame the government if a COVID-19 outbreak arises in their respective communities as calls for social distancing had been repeatedly rejected despite numerous pleas from state authorities.
Malaya also warned that erring barangay officials will rot in jail if it can be proven that they charge fees in exchange for quarantine passes.
In this time of a health emergency, Malaya explained that the barangay gives quarantine passes for free to one member per household which will enable him to go out of the residence to buy essential items for their homes.
Reports disclosed that erring barangays charge between P30 to P50 for every quarantine pass and an additional P30 if it is laminated.
Malaya assured that no stones will be left unturned in a bid to apprehend the erring barangay officials selling the quarantine passes.
Meanwhile, Malaya said a barangay captain from Laguna had apologized after being reprimanded by the DILG for putting inside a cramped cage alleged curfew violators in his turf.
Barangay captain Eric Ambrocio posted a photo where the curfew violators were placed in a small and mobile case for dogs in Barangay Gatid in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
He claimed the drunken curfew violators threatened and hurled invectives at barangay officials after resisting requests for them to go home.
Ambrocio the curfew violators repeatedly called them stupid and idiots which earned his ire.
However, this did not sit well with the netizens insisting that human rights were violated in the implementation of the curfew hours at this incident.