MANILA - Poor Filipinos have been the "disproportionate targets" of President Rodrigo Duterte's order against "tambays" (loiterers), an international human rights group said Tuesday, slamming this directive for evoking memories of Martial Law.
Human Rights Watch said communities being targeted by the police in the anti-loitering campaign are the same ones targeted in Duterte's bloody war on drugs, "re-traumatizing" the people living there in the process.
"This campaign threatens to retraumatize residents of communities already terrorized by ‘drug war’ executions and is risking the detainees’ health and safety," said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.
The New York-based group expressed alarm over the thousands of arrests made under Duterte's directive, with one person, Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo, dying inside a congested detention cell in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Questions surrounding the reason for Tisoy's arrest and the real cause of his death also worry Human Rights Watch.
The group is urging the government to protect the basic rights of the Filipinos.