THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday, June 20, to suspend its intensified campaign against loiterers or “tambays” until clear guidelines on its implementation have been drawn up.
“What is the extent of this crackdown? If we call it crackdown, or this arresting of tambays? And what is the meaning of tambays? So that people will also know," CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel said.
"Am I being a tambay if I do this? If I go to a sari-sari store at night, do I fear that I'm just going to be nabbed by a policeman because I'm a tambay?" she added.
On June 13, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the PNP to beef up operations against "tambays" especially at night in a bid to make the streets safer and to avoid crime incidents.
Pimentel said they are monitoring closely the PNP operations against "tambays" for any possible violation of human rights although they have yet to receive any report on such matter.
The anti-tambay campaign was implemented in Metro Manila. From June 13 to June 20, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar said 7,291 street loiterers were arrested.
Of the total, 2,237 were arrested by the Eastern Police District, 2,046 by the Southern Police District, 1,146 by the Quezon City Police District, 1,011 from the Northern Police District and 851 from the Manila Police District.
Those arrested allegedly violated curfew and the ordinances prohibiting smoking, drinking and being half-naked in public places or streets. Others were illegal vendors, litterers, illegal barkers and violators of the traffic code.
Earlier, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde clarified that those who will be arrested are those "tambays" who were violating city ordinances while those who were merely standing by doing nothing in an area and not violating any city ordinances will just be ordered to go home.
However, he said the PNP directorate for operations will create an operational guideline which the police will have to follow during the conduct of anti-tambay operations. (SunStar Philippines)