MANILA - Malacañang on Friday defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the police to hold a crackdown on “tambays” (loiterers) amid criticism it targets mainly the poor.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s order does not target the poor but “all those who violate local ordinances and laws.”
Duterte has been heavily criticized on his order for police to round up loiterers or night idlers.
Over 8,000 have since been apprehended or accosted in Metro Manila since Duterte issued his order last week, the Philippine National Police said.
Akbayan Youth slammed Duterte for his order, saying the government’s failure to solve poverty has led to the rise in the number of so-called “tambays.”
“Maraming tumatambay para magpalipas oras, makibalita sa mga kapitbahay o kabarangay, at makipagkita sa mga kaibigan. Kung tutuusin, marami sa mga tambay ay ang mga na-endo, hindi nakapag-aral, o problemado sa taas ng presyo dulot ng TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion),” said Akbayan Youth communications officer Justine Balane in a statement.
(Many loiter to pass the time, catch up with neighbors or meet friends. If you think about it, many of the tambays had jobs that had ended contract, failed to go to school, or are having problems due to the high cost of goods because of the TRAIN law.)
“Walang solusyon si Duterte sa mga isyung ito. Si Duterte na rin ang nagparami ng mga tambay,” he added.
(Duterte has no solution to these issues. It was Duterte who caused the rise in the number of loiterers.)
The "tambay" crackdown drew criticism following reported police abuse with the death of 25-year-old Genesis Argoncillo, who was arrested for allegedly being drunk and picking a fight with his neighbors earlier this week and later died in detention.
Police have given conflicting accounts about Argoncillo’s death. His family is seeking justice, refusing to believe that Argoncillo was mentally disturbed and that his death was self-inflicted, as initially claimed by the police.
The police later changed its tune, claiming that Argoncillo was mauled by fellow inmates.