Senior citizens have the right to travel
I would like to add to the ongoing discussion and points raised by Mr. Ramon Farolan in his column titled “Senior citizens appeal to IATF” (Reveille, 5/4/2020).
The omnibus guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force following Executive Order No. 112 would again prohibit senior citizens from going out of their homes from May 1 to 15. The prohibition was previously in effect for 45 days under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), when they were like animals cooped up in cages literally and figuratively. They had to stay home.
These guidelines violate their human rights, which is inherent in all human beings and protected by international human rights law, especially since this prohibition applies only to them and to the youth below 21 and not to the general population, thus infringing on the equal protection clause of our Constitution.
Under international human rights law, according to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, “All States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights … The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights…”
Senior citizens did not cause the pandemic. Why this curtailment of their rights, especially the right to travel?
Senior citizens have served our country well. Most, myself included, have retired. In the twilight of our life, we would like nothing better than visit friends and relatives, go to the mall, and do other activities that require freedom of movement. This freedom of movement will be negatively impacted by these guidelines.
Let us protest this violation of our human rights as senior citizens.
EUGENIO A. INSIGNE
Former City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City
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