Press Release
March 10, 2021

Hontiveros rejects proposal to deploy military, police to enforce health protocols

Senator Risa Hontiveros has rejected the proposal to deploy military and police officials to arrest individuals who breach health protocols after the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

Hontiveros called out the militaristic approach to the pandemic, saying it is 'a repeat of the mistakes of the past'. She said it would only delay the swift response needed to deal with the rise in cases which the World Health Organization (WHO) reported might require the country to return to a large scale lockdown like in July 2020 at the current rate of infection.

"Wag namang puro na lang lessons, pero wala namang learning. Ano ito, throwback sa 2020? Hindi ba tayo natututo na hindi gumagana o nakakatulong ang mass arrests? Magsisiksikan lang ang mga tao sa mga kulungan. Lalo lang magkakahawahan," she said.

During the world's longest lockdown, police arrested 76,000 individuals for breaching protocols between March 2020 to July 2020. The cases did not go down and only overwhelmed health workers that they had to beg for a 2-week circuit-breaker, the senator said.

"Kung magde-deploy man ng pulis, dapat sila pa nga ang namimigay ng face mask, face shield, o magpaalala sa physical distancing at paglilinis ng kamay. Hindi yung mandadakip na lang at aabusuhin ang kanilang kapangyarihan," she added.

Hontiveros emphasized deploying uniformed personnel was an ineffective and anti-poor strategy. She cited the case of the 5 youths arrested in Laguna at the start of the lockdown who were detained together in a singular dog cage.

"Ang mahihirap lang ang kaya nilang pagtripan. Kailan pa nilagay ang mayayaman sa detention center o sa dog cage dahil sa mass gatherings o parties nila? There is a way to enforce stricter health protocols humanely and non-violently. 2021 na. Let's do this the right way," she remarked.

"Mag-iisang taon na ang pandemya. Ang dami nang naisakripisyo ng taumbayan. Gobyerno naman ang mag-adjust, and respond to the spike because we care for the welfare of our people. Let's not beat them when we're already on the ground," Hontiveros concluded.

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