Press Release
June 19, 2018

Hontiveros to Duterte: How about the tambay in Panatag Shoal?

"Yan ang mahirap kay Pangulong Duterte eh. Matapang lang siya sa mga mahihirap, walang trabaho at walang kalaban-laban na mga tambay, pero tiklop naman sa China na nasa Panatag Shoal na forever na yatang tumambay."

This was the statement issued by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday in reaction to police authorities wrongly detaining a group of friends for simply waiting outside another friend's home in Makati City. This was after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to arrest all "tambays" or bystanders as part of his administration's anti-crime effort.

"What kind of logic is operating behind this so-called order? Bystanders are automatic criminals? Hanging out will lead to crimes? What's next? Is the President also going to criminalize the use of motorcycles because it is the vehicle of choice of riding-in-tandem criminals? It is absurd!" Hontiveros said.

"Hanging out is not a crime. As a lawyer, he should know that his order has no legal basis. The vagrancy law has been repealed. President Duterte's arrest-all-tambays order is unconstitutional," Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros stressed that Duterte's order demonstrates the Chief Executive's narrow-mindedness.

"The order has a petty and despotic understanding of crimes. It is also open to grave abuse. President Duterte thinks that by limiting the people's mobility, he will be able to reduce crime. He also dismisses the socio-economic and cultural aspects of the tambay phenomenon. While the tambay culture is borne out of poverty, lack of job opportunities and access to education, it is also deeply cultural and part of the Filipino psyche. It is a culture that enables people to interact with their communities. People hanging out in sari-sari stores or their favorite tambayan place in their barangays is no different from hanging out in coffee shops or malls. Or is the government discriminating against the poor?" Hontiveros said.

The opposition Senator explained that the solution to crimes is fair and effective police pratices, and better access to job and education opportunities.

"The rational and sober response to crime is good law enforcement work rooted in human rights principles and recognizing the importance of maintaining good relationships between communities and the police. This must go hand in hand with the government providing the citizens ample employment and livelihood opportunities and access to quality education," Hontiveros concluded.

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