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Rough Cuts | What CoViD 19 sires

Indeed crisis situations sire a lot of ingenuities among our people even as these also breed schemers among us.

Crises also reveal the dumb among our ranks. One example for the latter category was the guy from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who ordered Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto to appear before his office to explain his possible violation of the government’s CoViD 19 response protocol.

The NBI official based his move on Sotto’s earlier approval for tricycles in his city to ply its routes to ferry passengers, especially medical front liners even as mass public transportation was already restricted. But the Pasig mayor actually recalled his approval after his attention was called by the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG). And that was before the Bayanihan law defining the response methodologies and protocols was approved by Congress and signed by the President.

And late last week the NBI came out with its order to Mayor Sotto to appear before its office and explain his action.

Wow, whoever recommended that NBI move could either be totally unaware that the supposed violation was made much earlier than the effectivity of the Bayanihan law. Or he could be very busy doing other things that he had no more time to read the law or even readi or listen to news reports.

And when the guy discovered that he was in an awkward situation when the DILG and the Secretary of Justice were one in exonerating the Pasig mayor, he justified his dumb action by saying the bureau is merely doing its job.

Or, does the law allow itself a retroactive effect? If such is the case then may be the lawmakers are even dumber.

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And here is this innovation brought about by the Corona Virus Disease pandemic. In the Bureau of Jail Management’s desire to prevent the infection of jail inmates by the deadly disease the agency has prevented visits to inmates by their relatives. This is so because the chances of the CoViD getting entry in jails is bigger if there is no restriction in personal contacts between relatives and their detained kin.

To address this issue the Bureau, specifically the Davao City Jail in Maa, has developed a scheme using digital technology to connect inmates and their families. The Bureau calls this as the e-DALAW system taking advantage of video conferencing technology.

The communications technology provides inmates and their families the opportunity of a virtual visit without them physically present in designated areas in the jail compound.

This way, according to Maa jail executives, the inmates continue to enjoy their rights to have contacts with their families without risking the entire jail population as well as compromising the health of their family members.
Indeed this technological innovation can very well help boost the self-esteem of both the inmates and their loved ones even as it assures the Bureau of Jail Management that in its own little way it has helped in the fight against the deadly CoViD 19 that has already claimed a total of 11 lives in the entire Davao Region as of 8 o’clock Friday evening.

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Now we have this brilliant idea of the DILG in helping prevent jails and detention centers in Davao Region’s various police stations or districts from getting further congested.

Our good friend and former colleague at the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and fellow broadcaster as well, DILG Regional Director Alex Roldan, has postulated the deferment of the filing of formal charges against those who were arrested violating the curfew imposed in the city and in some other places in the Davao Region.

According to Director Roldan, all jails and detention centers in Region XI are already very congested. So, filing of formal charges against arrested violators of the curfew would result to their detention if they are not allowed to post bail, which is likely because seemingly there is no clear basis at the moment.

Therefore, if curfew violators are to be detained once probable cause is established, then all the more that jails and detention cells will become extremely congested making the inmates very vulnerable to the health pandemic.

We agree with our friend Alex that detaining the curfew violators is not sensible at this time. We also share with his idea that violators will have to answer for their misdeed and apparent disregard of the curfew order once the situation goes back to normal.

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