By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
Since people are being called to stay home in order to protect themselves and stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is important for the government to ensure that everyone has adequate housing.
In its COVID-19 guidance, the CHR said that whenever containment measures are enforced, it is up to the government to ensure that no one suffers from homelessness or inadequate housing.
The CHR said the government must take urgent measures to help people without housing or those living in overcrowded areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve.
There are also some people who have no access to clean water and sanitation in their homes, and this is a problem because washing hands with soap and clean water is the first line of defense against the virus.
During these times, the CHR said the government can provide emergency housing for the homeless by using vacant and abandoned housing units. In doing so, those who are affected by the virus can self-isolate and prevent others from being infected.
The CHR also said that authorities should take particular care to prevent more people from becoming homeless. The Commission warned that many people face eviction because of loss of income during the quarantine period.
A good practice to follow now, the CHR recommended, is a moratorium on evictions and deferrals of mortgage payments.