On the PNP's proposal to monitor social media for quarantine violators

How exactly does the police plan to monitor social media for supposed quarantine violations? Who will they seek monitor in the first place? Unless they start with the pasaway from their own ranks, we fear that this move is nothing more than an insidious cover for online policing and mass surveillance. It is another insidious move for the police to target, track, threaten, and arrest activists and even ordinary citizens joining protest actions — all under the convenient guise of enforcing quarantine measures such as the ban on mass gatherings.

We have seen the police conduct violent and illegal dispersals and arrests in protests for the past few months — despite compliance with health protocols such as the wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing — as well as tracking and arresting ordinary people airing their legitimate grievances against the government online. Having the police surveil social media to penalize alleged quarantine “violators” has no legal basis even under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act as well as international human rights laws. Such move dangerously infringes on our basic rights and civil liberties.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General