INTERIOR Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday said President Duterte was merely exaggerating when he said policemen should pour chemicals or force persons who attack health workers to drink those chemicals.
“His (President) message was meant to show the importance of the health workers,” Año said in a phone interview. Many health workers who came to the aid of COVID-19 patients have been infected by the coronavirus themselves.
“It was meant to emphasize a point. You know the President, whenever he speaks, he exaggerates to emphasize a point,” he added.
Last week, two workers from hospitals attending to COVID-19 patients in Tacurong City and Cebu City were attacked by unidentified men. The victims were splashed with bleach and chlorine in apparent discrimination case.
“We will arrest and detain them,” Año said, referring to those who will attack health workers.”We will file charges necessary.”
The National Privacy Commission, in a statement, said it “strongly condemns social vigilantes” who attack or threaten the safety of health workers.
It said “social vigilantes are those who take it upon themselves to enforce their views of what they consider appropriate beliefs and behavior.”
“We also denounce people who irresponsibly publicize the personal data of persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs), thus exposing them to danger even graver than the novel coronavirus itself – that of maltreatment, online bullying and physical violence from individuals who may be driven by desperation and fear,” it said.