Amnesty International Philippines
14 March 2020
Responding to NCRPO Director Debold Sinas’ pronouncement on 13 March that members of the PNP will arrest “those who will be unruly” in resisting orders under community quarantine to be enforced in Metro Manila starting 15 March, Butch Olano, Amnesty International Philippines Section Director said:
“Restrictions carried out to protect public health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quarantines, carry great risks to human rights. Restrictions imposed against the right to personal liberty, safety and security can only be carried out in limited circumstances with clear and strict guidelines for implementations that are consistent with the wider human rights framework.
“The PNP’s mandate on the community quarantine must be the same in any situation, it should follow principles of non-discrimination, pursue a legitimate aim – that is to protect public health, and be proportional to that aim. The police’s response to any threat on public order during a community quarantine must be legitimate and necessary, using the least restrictive alternative action available.
“Members of the PNP are duty bound to respect human rights in all their actions, to actively protect human rights against abuse not to abuse their power.”
NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas said they will arrest “those who will be unruly” during a press conference on 13 March, referring to individuals who will defy quarantine protocols when the community quarantine begins implementation at midnight on 15 March
President Duterte announced on 12 March that he is placing the entire Metro Manila under community quarantine to the pandemic caused by COVID-19.