Devoid of new issues on the war on drugs, rights groups critical of President Rody Duterte are now picking on the enhanced community quarantine as being the new source of abuses.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) acted in tandem with its local affiliates like Karapatan to pursue a bigger agenda in exploiting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for political gains.
In assailing the government, HRW cited reports of abuse against detainees, which it said should be promptly investigated and those responsible “appropriately disciplined or prosecuted.”
It said rights of those arrested for violating curfew and other public health regulations can be done while still allowing the government to take appropriate measures to combat COVID-19.
Most of the arrests, it claimed, are for violating curfew “but some are for breach of “social distancing” and quarantine regulations. Other cities and provinces enforced their own lockdowns following Duterte’s action.”
It particularly identified local officials in Santa Cruz, Laguna admitting to have locked up five youths inside a dog cage on 20 March for curfew violation.
HRW went on saying those arrested were packed in crowded detention centers that defeat the purpose of social distancing.
The hidden agenda of the group was to apply constant pressure on the government to obtain a larger goal amid the ceasefire accession of the communist group.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman Jose Maria Sison was forced to declare a unilateral ceasefire in the heels of a similar declaration by the President.
Sison said the CPP is declaring a truce in response to the United Nations (UN) call for global peace due to the pandemic.
Rody earlier issued a unilateral ceasefire as he encouraged Sison to do the same, which the communist leader rejected.
He found an opening to win some brownie points by saying that he was complying with a UN call and not that of Duterte.
Karapatan, which is a pseudo rights group but is considered a communist front, said the government should “free all political prisoners in the country on just and humanitarian grounds,” citing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s plea for the release of inmates in overcrowded detention centers.
Karapatan is asking for the unconditional release of 610 political prisoners citing the risks from the virus.
“The overcrowding in prison has led to unmanageable outbreaks of pulmonary tuberculosis last year,” it noted.
The complementing efforts of the rights groups reinforce the view that civic groups are mostly exploited to attain political ends, which in the case of the CPP is to strengthen its forces to better pursue its effort in bringing down the government.
Its aims prevail no matter the crisis situation that the country is in.