Año orders PNP to investigate rally by doctors' group last week
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday directed the Philippine National Police - Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (PNP-CIDG) to investigate the “Flatten the Fear” event held by a group of doctors last week.
Año said the investigation is upon the request of the Department of Health (DOH) as the group, Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines, seeks to end all community restrictions and lockdowns in the country despite the on-going global pandemic.
Año said there are reports of violations of the prohibition on mass gathering, failure to wear face masks, and no physical distancing, among others.
“We directed the PNP-CIDG to investigate the mass gathering to find out if they violated any health protocols during this time of pandemic,” Año said.
“Maybe the group just wants to help the government in fighting the pandemic, but the mass gathering they held and not wearing face masks is very risky not only for them but also to their families,” he added.
They held a mass gathering dubbed as #Flatten the Fear campaign, many of whom purposely did not wear face masks because they said they do not need to do so because they are on prophylaxis and preventive treatment of COVID-19.
Año said while the campaign’s call to boost a person’s immunity system may have good intentions, their actions show otherwise as they allegedly violated the minimum health standards on prohibition of mass gathering and mandatory wearing of face masks.
He said that the group’s call to end all restrictions at this critical time sends a wrong message to the public and undermines months of hard work by health authorities to flatten the curve and defeat the virus.
“We wish to remind them that we are not out of the woods yet and that community transmission is on-going. While we have been able to lower our cases, we cannot be complacent and let down our guard since an outbreak may suddenly occur as what we have seen in many countries all over the world,” he said.
Easing the quarantine restrictions might result in a higher number of COVID-19 cases, said Año.
He said there are still 56,097 active cases in the Philippines, so the Flatten the Fear campaign sends the wrong signal to the public to disregard the strict implementation of the minimum health standards which the World Health Organization (WHO) has asked all countries to implement.
Año told the group that they should have discussed first with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) their recommendations instead of holding a mass gathering as this move undermines the work that has been done for many months by our frontliners. Ella Dionisio/DMS