In a statement signed by eight major local and foreign business groups, the businessmen said: “We are greatly disappointed – even appalled and dismayed – about news reports of public officials violating with impunity the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and DOH (Department of Health) protocols intended to protect public health.”
The businessmen said government officials should “demonstrate beyond doubt, the highest standards in observing and enforcing the rule of law, and serve as role models in discipline and moral ascendancy.”
While public officials – from COVID-positive Senator Koko Pimentel barging into Makati Medical Center to Police Chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas’ mañanita – blatantly acted above the law during the 10-week lockdown, the businessmen pointed out that nearly 41,000 have been arrested for petty violations of the ECQ as of May 1 .
“Many of those arrested suffered detention, costs, humiliation, and inconveniences, and some endured unwarranted jail time when unopened courts or government offices, or even limited bank branches, could not process their bail in a timely manner,” said the businessmen.
“The compounding economic hardships and unfamiliarity with new rules resulted in many people languishing in detention centers for many days, thus risking exposure to the virus in overcrowded facilities,”they added.
The business groups that signed the statement are the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, Institute for Solidarity in Asia Inc., Institute of Corporate Directors, and Judicial Reform Initiative.