This website requires JavaScript.

Diokno Wants Science-Based Council To Replace IATF

Diokno Wants Science-Based Council To Replace IATF
Senatorial aspirant and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno. Photo by Michael Varcas, The Philippine STAR

Human rights lawyer and senatorial aspirant Chel Diokno expressed support for the establishment of a new council that will replace the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

If elected, Diokno said he will file a measure creating a “science-based and technology-driven” Pandemic Management Council to address the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“Our enemy during the pandemic is not armed soldiers. We are fighting a virus,” he said in Filipino on Thursday, Nov. 25. “This is why those managing pandemic response should be people who know about health, issues in science and issues in information technology (IT).”

The Duterte administration has received criticisms over the appointment of former military personnel in the IATF.

Diokno also noted how the country still has no nationwide systematized contact tracing two years into the public health crisis, saying the government should have left the matter to IT experts.

“They approach it with an iron fist that’s why we are not able to do what we should have done when dealing with the pandemic,” he added, noting the punitive nature of penalties for those who violate health protocols.

Instead of imprisonment, Diokno said he will propose that those who violate quarantine protocols be made to do community service.

The human rights lawyer heads the Free Legal Assistance Group, which provides free legal aid to victims of abuse and poor Filipinos.

He earlier established a help desk to provide free assistance to poor Filipinos facing legal problems during the pandemic.