THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called for reasonable and humane disciplinary actions against violators of Covid-19 health protocols.

CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia issued the statement following the order to detain persons not wearing face masks in public.

The agency consistently echoed the need for everyone to observe health protocols during the pandemic, including the proper wearing of face masks, she said.

“However, with the noted rise of human rights violations arising from violations of health protocols, we have stressed the need for reasonable and humane disciplinary measures for violators,” de Guia added.

"In the absence of clear guidelines, we are concerned that such directive may be prone to excessive discretion and abuse. We note that certain local governments have passed ordinances penalising the act of not wearing face masks in public,” the CHR official stressed.

First time offenders are often reprimanded, fined, and/or asked to perform community service.

Given the overcrowded conditions of jails and other detention facilities in the Philippines, “detention may not be sound in preventing the further spread of Covid-19 in communities,” De Guia said.

She said that it is through intensive education and information campaigns, not fear, that would best result in better compliance with healthy and safety protocols during the pandemic.

"A human rights-based approach in addressing the pandemic requires a healthy and careful balance of protecting rights based on standards. We may be in quarantine due to the pandemic, but rights should not be on lockdown," she said.