Press Release
March 27, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 754:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the Martial Law tactics employed during the Enhanced Community Quarantine


The Human Rights Watch has expressed their concern on Section 6 (f) of the recently enacted "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act." This section seeks to penalize "individuals or groups creating, perpetuating, or spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, such as information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population, and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear, or confusion..."

Knowing the vindictiveness of this regime, this provision can be abused by authorities to suit their political agenda and curtail freedoms of expression and opinion of those who call out government's inanities and languid response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Days after DILG Usec. Martin Diño said that human rights and writ of habeas corpus are suspended during a state of emergency, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia threatened to go after anyone who voices negative comments on social media on the government's response to COVID-19. She reportedly made a rapper swear in public to never criticize the government again. The Cebu government will also file a case against him.

Bukod dito, sa ibang lugar, may mga dinakip at inilagay pa sa kulungan ng aso at ibinilad sa araw dahil sa paglabag sa curfew.

Huwag natin gawing solusyon ang pananakot at dahas. We must treat this crisis more as a public health concern than a peace and order issue.

What we need now is full transparency from the government, not a measure to suppress rights and freedom of speech. We must learn from what happened to Dr. Li Wenliang who issued the warning about the new virus yet the Chinese authorities subjected him to questioning and threats before he died from COVID-19.

Virus ang kalaban natin, hindi ang kapwa Pilipino. Takot na ang mga tao, huwag na nating takutin pa. Bukod sa virus, nangangamba rin ang maraming Pilipino sa gutom at lalong paghihirap ng kanilang pamilya. Sagipin, at huwag gipitin, ang kapwa Pilipino. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 754, here:

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