Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday defended the Joint Task Force Covid Shield’s move to monitor social media platforms in going after violators of quarantine protocols.
In a television interview, Año said social media platforms have been useful in their investigations against community quarantine violations, particularly those reported by concerned citizens through social media.
“Talagang ginagawa na natin yan at magandang source of information din ang social media lalo na yung mga nagse-celebrate ng fiesta, nagko-coronation pa sila. (We’ve been doing that for quite some time and social media is a good source of information, especially against those who are celebrating fiesta, and coronation),” he said in a TV interview.
He also allayed fears of some sectors on alleged invasion of privacy, citing that social media is a public domain.
“We do not infringe on the rights of our people, social media is for everyone,” Año said
Last week, JTF Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Eleazar told police commanders to monitor social media for quarantine violations, noting that it is full of videos and pictures of people violating the quarantine protocols.
Eleazar, however, said these pieces of information will only serve as the basis for further investigation and that violators will not be arrested.
He assured the public that policemen would respect the privacy of every individual in monitoring quarantine violations shared online.
Eleazar said authorities will only verify viral or public videos and photos of quarantine protocol violations captured by closed-circuit television (CCTVs) and dash cams.
For his part, Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said the JTF’s plan would also instill social responsibility among the public.
“Social responsibility ang sinasabi diyan. Kapag umabuso ka naman, hindi naman maganda, hindi ba (It is social responsibility. It’s not good to abuse your privilege),” Cascolan said.
Cascolan also said the measure will not lead to violation of human rights for as long as there is no abuse on the part of law enforcers.
Eleazar said netizens have been posting complaints about some violations of minimum health safety standard protocols, including mass gatherings like drinking sessions as well as other forms of prohibited celebration amid the pandemic.
He said individuals who will be caught engaging in drinking sessions may face additional charges especially if there is an existing liquor ban in their respective communities. (PNA)