Palace: Penalties for lockdown violators should adhere to the law

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 05:25 PM

A “lockdown” sign is placed at a street barricade in Sampaloc, Manila on April 19, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang reminded local officials Monday that penalties for enhanced community quarantine violators should adhere to the law as authorities implemented stricter measures to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that in imposing penalties, officials should still respect the rights of violators.

"Bagama't walang nakapataw na talagang parusa dun sa mga lalabag sa ECQ, natural ito'y kinakailangan ay sang-ayon sa saligang batas at kinakailangan ito'y proportional doon sa objectives ng ECQ na pabagalin nga ang pagkalat ng COVID-19," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

(Although there is no specific penalty for ECQ violators, this needs to be in accordance with the law and proportional to the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19).

Penalties for lockdown violators varies in different localities, with some earning criticism.

Earlier this month, three LGBT community members were asked to kiss, dance, and do push-ups on live video broadcast on social media as punishment for violating curfew hours.

Asking community quarantine violators to plant vegetables, like the one done in San Fernando, Pampanga, meanwhile is an example of an acceptable penalty, according to Roque.

"Siguro pwede po tayo magkaroon ng mga ganyang parusa na hindi naman lumalabag sa karapatang pantao," he said.

(Maybe we can impose penalties that don't violate human rights.)

The Palace official meanwhile warned lockdown violators against disobeying community quarantine protocols meant to protect the lives of people from COVID-19.

"Karapatang pantao din ang karapatang mabuhay at habang nilalabag natin ang ECQ, eh nagiging banta din tayo sa karapatang mabuhay ng ating kababayan," he said.

(It's also a right to live and when you violate the ECQ, you become a threat to our fellow countrymen's right to live.)

As of Monday, the Philippines has recorded 6,459 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 428 deaths, and 613 recoveries.

Luzon, home to half of the country's over 100 million people, are on lockdown until April 30 to halt the spread of the disease.