PNP wonât breach privacy of quarantine violators
As groups started to mount opposition against the new directive, with some accusing the police organization of using the pandemic to turn the country into a police state, PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said police would respect the people’s privacy.
Edd Gumban, file
PNP won’t breach privacy of quarantine violators
Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — No breach of privacy would be committed while police are monitoring social media platforms to catch people violating rules on mass gatherings, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assured the public yesterday.

As groups started to mount opposition against the new directive, with some accusing the police organization of using the pandemic to turn the country into a police state, PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said police would respect the people’s privacy.

“We will not invade their privacy. In fact, we don’t care about what happens inside homes in regard to quarantine rules,” Eleazar said in an interview on dzBB. “The notion that their privacy would be invaded is wrong.”

Taking its cue on how the public and the media uncovered a party for Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas that violated quarantine rules last May, the PNP cascaded orders over the weekend for police to monitor social media platforms to apprehend individuals violating health protocols.

Photos of Sinas’ birthday fete were uploaded in the National Capital Region Police Office’s Facebook page. The album has since been deleted.

Groups and social media users expressed concern after the PNP announced the monitoring of quarantine violators through social media on Saturday.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes accused the PNP of using the pandemic as an excuse to turn the Philippines into a police state.

“There’s so much to be done instead of telling police officers to spend so much time on Facebook. The PNP wants to use the pandemic to turn us into a police state, where every move is being watched,” Reyes said.

Eleazar assured the public that online monitoring would mostly apply to outdoor activities and that police would only monitor posts that are public, those that went viral and complaints left on official police social media accounts.

At least 372,929 individuals have been accosted for violating health safety protocols since the community quarantine started in March.

Of the figure, 155,719 violators were warned, 117,219 were fined and the rest were detained and charged in court.

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