By Martin Sadongdong
Security officers in Rizal province were called out for their alleged inhumane treatment of a person with disability (PWD) who supposedly violated the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cardona town.
Hanna Chevy Fiel said her brother was sitting in front of their house in Barangay Calahan when three soldiers, armed with armalites, grabbed him since it was already past curfew hours. The curfew is being implemented in the town as part of the quarantine measures.
“Nag-struggle ‘yung kapatid ko kaya napasilip sa labas ‘yung mama namin (My brother was struggling so my mother went outside to check on him),” she told the Manila Bulletin on Thursday night.
It was a routine for Fiel’s brother to sit in front of their house after sweeping in the afternoon.
But just last week, Fiel said the village officials made the curfew earlier which now starts at 3 p.m. She said her brother may have not adjusted to the new curfew yet.
The incident happened around 4 p.m. Thursday, April 9.
Fiel requested to hide the identity of her brother for his protection as he is mute and mentally challenged. She posted the ordeal of her brother on her Facebook account which has since went viral.
When the soldiers were trying to arrest Fiel’s brother, her mother came to his defense as she heared him shouting and making muffled noises.
Fiel’s mother then saw the officers trying to drag her brother to a mobile. She said her mother appealed to the officers to go easy on her brother since he is a PWD.
Fiel admitted that her brother may have violated the curfew but she insisted that it was not enough reason for the security officers to treat him cruelly.
She said the officers could have just knocked on their house when they noticed that her brother couldn’t talk to inform them that it was already past curfew hours.
“Ang panawagan ko po, sana maging makatao naman ang government sa pagpapatupad ng quarantine. Sumusunod naman kami sa mga rules nila pero sana igalang din nila ‘yung karapatan ng mga tao lalo na ng mga vulnerable tulad ng mga PWD (I appeal to the government to be humane in enforcing the quarantine. We are following the rules but they should also respect the rights of those most vulnerable especially the PWDs),” Fiel said.
“Sa totoo lang, kung nahihirapan tayo sa sitwasyon ngayon, I’m sure mas doble ang paghihirap nila (In all honesty, if we find it hard to cope up with the situation, I’m sure it’s more difficult for them given their condition),” she added.
Fiel said her brother must have been traumatized by the incident as he won’t respond to the family members.
“Natakot ‘yung kapatid ko, sobrang tahimik niya ngayon. Ni ayaw na niya lumapit sa pinto (My brother went aloof. He wouldn’t even go near the door),” Fiel said.
This reporter has already reached out to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for a reaction. They have yet to respond to the queries.
Last week, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called on the national government to assist the PWDs in coping up with the enhanced community quarantine.
“People with psychosocial disabilities, such as anxiety or depression, may be in particular distress especially under self-isolation,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia.
While everybody has to deal with the extreme measure to prevent the spread of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the CHR official said it may be more challenging for the PWDs to cope.
De Guia urged government agencies to provide the PWDs with the needed support like relief assistance and access to health services among others.