Compassion was highlighted online after a police trainee assigned to patrol in Sipocot, Camarines Sur bought a face mask instead of getting angry at a quarantine protocol violator.
Rodel Nuyles, a 28-year-old recruit of the Philippine National Police‘s field training program, told ABS-CBN News that he chanced upon a man who lined up outside a remittance center without a face mask.
Under the local guidelines, residents of the town must wear face masks in public, although they are not penalized for failing to wear one.
The remittance center, in particular, only accommodates customers with the designated protective accessory.
Nuyles recounted that he approached the unidentified man in line and reminded him to wear a face mask in accordance with the community’s quarantine protocol.
The man, he shared, was a person with disability who was missing his right hand.
Nuyles said that the man told him he has no money to buy a face mask. The latter only used the collar of his shirt to cover his nose and mouth.
This prompted the police trainee to buy one for the man.
“Naawa lang ako kay manong dahil wala daw siyang pambili ng face mask. Saka imbes na sitahin ko siya, imbes na pagalitan siya, binilhan ko na lang siya ng face mask,” Nuyles said.
“E mura lang po ‘yun. Sinabihan ko next time, palagi siyang magsuot ng mask paglabas ng bahay,” he added.
Nuyles’ initiative was shared by Rowena Belga Pura, the shopkeeper of the store where he bought the face mask, on social media.
She hoped that other police officers and law enforcers on the ground would emulate his humane approach to quarantine protocol violators.
“Kahit simple lang pero nakaka-touch siya. What if ‘yung taong nakapila, magke-claim siya ng money, what if hindi siya makapasok kasi wala siyang face mask? Wala rin siyang kapera-pera,” Pura said.
“Naisip ko, magandang i-upload ko ito. Sana dumami ang pulis na katulad niya,” she added.
Act of ‘compassion’
True enough, Nuyles’ non-violent initiative was lauded by the online community who similarly hoped that other uniformed personnel like him would be more “considerate” and “kind” while they encounter quarantine violators.
“I commend this action of a young police officer, morals intact and doing good to his fellow human being in times that we need human compassion,” a Twitter user said with clapping hands emoji.
“Philippines can be a better place if we spread positivities and compassion to one another. Let the trainee’s gesture be a good example,” said another online user.
A Filipino likewise commented that Nuyles’ action translates to “the literal meaning of compassion.”
“This is the literal meaning of COMPASSION. Instead of killing, jailing & hitting people, authorities should extend help to those who are in need. To you, Sir RODEL NUYLES, your heart is in the right place, your parents surely are very proud. Salute to you and keep it up,” she wrote.
Earlier this week, a mask ordinance violator in Mandaluyong City also encountered a uniformed personnel who handed him a face mask instead of getting him arrested.
The personnel, a Philippine Army reservist, only reprimanded the violator and informed him of the local face mask ordinance before giving him a face mask they have on hand.
The action was similarly praised by the online community who compared it to how other law enforcers implemented the quarantine protocols with force and violence, particularly to a foreign national in Makati City and a fish vendor in Quezon City.
On Monday, a Spanish national figured in an altercation with a police officer in Dasmariñas Village after his househelper was found without a face mask outside their house.
The foreigner was held by the police officer on the ground despite having a “back injury” that time.
A fish vendor in Panay Avenue, meanwhile, was hit by sticks and dragged on the road by barangay watchmen for failing to wear a face mask in public.
He was physically assaulted despite pleas of the surrounding residents for the authorities to stop.
The Quezon City government has already fired the official who initiated the assault from his position. It has also required its task force members to wear body cameras while on duty.
The Human Rights Watch previously urged the Philippine government to prevent its law enforcers from abusing the rights of the citizens amid implementing quarantine protocols.