In a bid to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government imposed the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on March 15 for the National Capital Region (NCR), which was supposed to be lifted by May 15. However, since the efforts have not successfully “flattened the curve,” and since many of the cases are found in NCR, the health lockdowns were extended until the end of May. Elsewhere in the country, some local government units moved from ECQ to GCQ (General Community Quarantine), and the NCR has moved from ECQ to MECQ (Modified ECQ), all of which impose numerous restrictions and limitations. While the security sector (military and police) has been implementing the emergency quarantine protocols, there have been reports of alleged violations (such as arrests and/or fines made for violation of curfew, not observing social distance, not wearing face masks, not having the emergency quarantine pass, some reports of illegal detention, physical abuse, etc). Due to the strict restrictions on movement and difficulty in responding to the complaints, the Online CBD was launched to create a venue to discuss, examine, and address the issues and concerns arising from violations of the ECQ protocols. The Community-Based Dialogue (CBD) project was launched in 2008 to help improve the human rights situation in the Philippines by creating a venue where open dialogue between the security sector and civil society can take place to discuss and address human rights-related issues and concerns. The CBD project is being implemented by the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), together with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (through the Human Rights Office/AFP HRO), and the Philippine National Police (through the Human Rights Affairs Office/HRAO and Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development/DHRDD), with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany (HSF). The Online CBD is a project offshoot that was initiated by the CHR, given the many reports they have received about alleged violations on the ECQ protocols, and the difficulty in personally responding to complaints. The first Online CBD was held on May 15, 2020 and the topic was “Policies on Arrest and Violations Under the ECQ,” and resource speakers include Mr. Rene Clemente (ALG) who gave an overview of the CBD project, CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit who gave the opening discussion about the Human Rights impact of the ECQ, Ms. Rose Trajano (PAHRA) who spoke about the issues and concerns being observed on the ground, and Police Brig. Gen. Brandy Usana (PNP HRAO) who spoke about the laws and policies being observed by the security sector surrounding arrests due to violations of the ECQ protocols. The moderator noted that this is the first of a series of Online CBDs as the Philippines tries to contain the COVID-19 health threat, but also discuss issues and concerns on alleged violations in the implementation of the emergency health quarantines.
Hi Rene, this is very interesting! Do you have a link for this online CBD? I’m handling a project on the access to justice of women deprived of liberty in Asia and the Pacific, and I think this resource would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!