MANILA - Groups of businessmen said Sunday they were "greatly disappointed" about reports of public officials who are "violating with impunity" government's measures against COVID-19, which shuttered most businesses during the strict lockdown.
The groups, that include the American and Canadian chambers of Commerce of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club, said the guidelines of the inter-agency's task force on emerging infectious diseases (IATF-EID) have affected the livelihood and restricted the movement of millions of Filipinos.
The measures also brought "confusion and different interpretations of rules" that led to quarantine violations, the groups said, citing the reported arrest of some 30,000 alleged violators from March 17 to April 17.
"The compounding economic hardships and unfamiliarity with new rules resulted in many people languishing in detention centers for many days, thus risking exposure to the virus in overcrowded facilities," they said.
"We are therefore greatly disappointed – even appalled and dismayed – about news reports of public officials violating with impunity the IATF and DOH (Department of Health) protocols intended to protect public health."
The groups recalled the words of Metro Manila Police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, "We will arrest those who will not follow the guidelines.”
Sinas is facing criminal and administrative charges for allowing a social gathering for his birthday last May 8.
The groups said they trust local and national officials to "demonstrate beyond doubt the highest standards in observing and enforcing the rule of law and serve as role models in discipline and moral ascendancy."
"Upholding the law and ensuring faith in our justice system stand as the bedrock of our democracy, and will enable the economy to survive and recover from these most trying times. The sacrifice of our people deserves nothing less," they said.
The groups made the joint statement as Metro Manila and other urban hubs Cebu City and Davao City are set to be placed under a looser lockdown or general community quarantine beginning Monday, June 1.
The AMCHAM, CANCHAM and MBC are joined by the following in the joint statement: Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Institute for Solidarity in Asia, Inc., Institute of Corporate Directors, Judicial Reform Initiative and, Management Association of the Philippines.