By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte assured Congress that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is coordinating with local government units (LGUs) after the number of crimes against women in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) reached 763.
In his sixth weekly report to Congress, President Duterte wrote that the PNP Women and Children Protection Desks are working closely with LGUs to ensure that the rights and welfare of women and children are protected during the ECQ.
As of April 30, the PNP has recorded 763 cases of crimes against women and 521 cases of crimes against children since the implementation of the enhanced COVID-19 lockdown.
Duterte’s report also noted that an initial batch of 200 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were being reviewed for early release and at least 100 PDLs will be deliberated by the Bureau of Pardons and Parole (BPP) on a weekly basis.
The BPP and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) have started to compile prison records and documents of PDLs who may benefit from the new rules in order to expedite the processing of their applications and facilitate their early release.
The Public Attorney’s Office has started filing the necessary motions and pleadings aimed at securing the immediate liberty of PDLs, including motions to fix and/or reduce bail, motions for release on recognizance, motions to dismiss, and motions for the immediate release of 1,359 PDLs.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) is set to supply the Department of Justice (DOJ) with an additional 10,000 kits to test PDLs, 3,500 of which will be used to treat inmates at the Correctional Institute for Women where the greatest number of confirmed cases–48 cases–has been recorded.
Recognizing the vital need to provide support to the mental health and well-being of Filipinos during the crisis, President Duterte said the DOH, through various partner agencies and organizations, has started offering free online psychological services for COVID-19 concerns via phone, social media, and other platforms.
In a paper published in Lancet Psychiatry, a panel of 24 specialists called for more funding for research into the impacts COVID-19 may have on society’s mental well-being as they noted that the pandemic was likely to have a “profound and pervasive impact” on the billions of people who struggle to cope with isolation.
Dr. Roland Cortez, chief of the National Center for Mental Health, said in a virtual press conference last week that the rise of the number of individuals with depression should be expected due to the prolonged quarantine.
According to Cortez, about 200 people have called the 24-hour hotline numbers 0917-898-8727 and 989-8727 since Luzon was placed under ECQ.
Compliance with ECQ
Meanwhile, President Duterte wrote in his report that the national government was continuously monitoring the compliance of LGUs with the rules and guidelines enforced during the ECQ.
To date, the DILG has reported 78 provinces, 139 cities, 1,224 municipalities, and 32,139 barangays to be compliant with ECQ guidelines. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)