Is COVID-19 a “hoax?”

Published August 23, 2021, 12:12 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki


Is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a “hoax?”

Yes, COVID-19 is a “hoax” to some members of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Monday, Aug. 23.

The CHR said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has described IDPs as people who “stay within their own country and remain under the protection of its government, even if that government is the reason for their displacement.”

It said the unlike refugees, IDPs remain on the run at home.

Citing the report of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, the CHR said there are 145,000 number of IDPs in the Philippines as of Dec. 31, 2020 because of natural disasters and 153,000 IDPs because of conflict and violence.

It said there are still some areas in the country where no information on COVID-19 is received.

It pointed out that its Regional XI Office even discovered that the Matigsalug tribe, IDPs who live in the boundary of Davao and Bukidnon, have no knowledge about the gravity of the COVID-19 health crisis.

At the same time, the CHR learned that their sites are cramped with no adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities to support good hygiene practices against the virus, and they also have no partitions or barriers for social distancing.

“Thus, IDPs are more at risk of contracting the virus and must be informed about the ongoing pandemic,” the CHR said in the report entitled “Rights during a Pandemic: The 2020 Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines.”

The report was signed last June 30 by Chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon and Commissioners Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, Leah Tanodra-Armamento, and Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz.

“Information is vital in determining access to health during a pandemic,” the CHR said.

“The government must continue its efforts in ensuring that people, especially those in far-flung areas, are fully informed of the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it stressed.

It noted that “several key developments” were undertaken by the government in ensuring that Filipinos receive timely information on COVID-19.