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LGU Pakil passes anti-discrimination ordinance for COVID-19 frontliners, patients

By Joy Gabrido
April 17, 2020

PLT RAMIR I VIZARRA, OIC together with the Pakil Rural Health Unit Personnel, Brgy. Officials, Brgy. Health Workers, and Bantay Bayan conducted dialogue and continues 24/7 COVID-19 Inter Agency Checkpoint established located at National Road, Brgy. Tavera, Pakil, Laguna.

BAY, Laguna – The Local Government of Pakil issued a municipal ordinance to prevent any form of discrimination related to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

The Municipal Ordinance No. 2020-0121 is an “ordinance against discrimination towards medical and non-medical frontliners, health workers, patients, person under monitoring (PUM), person under investigation (PUI), and their families in the Municipality of Pakil.”

“Nakita namin sa ibang lugar na di maayos ang trato sa mga nag-positive. In fact, iyong isa nga hindi agad nakapasok nang bayan nila upang doon na mag-quarantine. Nag-viral pa ito dahil frontliner siya ng Provincial Government ng Laguna na nahawa lamang dahil sa isang pasyenteng inihatid nila ng ambulance,” Mayor Vincent Soriano explained.

(“We have seen in other locality that COVID-19 positive patients are not being treated well. In fact, one of them was not able to enter his town easily to undergo home quarantine. It even went viral because he was a frontliner in the Provincial Government of Laguna who had closed contact to a patient they transported through an ambulance.”)

The Local Chief Executive (LCE) said they want to protect their very own especially now that the town already have one patient positive of COVID-19 for being a frontliner who is an ambulance driver who also contracted the virus from a patient he transported to a hospital.

“Ayaw naming mangyari sa kanya ang diskriminasyong dinanas noong ibang gaya niya."

(We don’t want him to experience the discrimination others like him have experienced).


Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders

The ordinance indicates that, no person or entity is allowed to make status postings, comments in social media, spreading or announcing sensitive information whether someone is positive or not, investigated or monitored.

Also, only the proper authorities including the LCE, attending Medical Doctor, and Municipal Health Officer have the right to announce one’s medical condition.

The ordinance also provides that Public Officers should not refuse or fail to provide assistance to the COVID-19 patients, health workers, and other frontliners who wish to return to their place of residents after obtaining medical certification or clearance of the COVID-19 infection from proper health officials.

The town’s citizens are likewise forbidden to discriminate, disgrace, humiliate, harass, and spread fake news against frontline personnel and the individuals specified in the ordinance.

Meanwhile, all the establishments such as supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, banks and the likes must be open for services and sales to the public or to persons concerned unless otherwise restricted by policies and issuances that may supersede the effectivity of this ordinance.

Frontliners, patients and other specified individuals should as well not be denied with access to facilities, utilities and transportation services that at the current state of calamity are open to the general public.

And finally, the Pakil Municipal Police Station personnel are prompted to extend their assistance to ensure their safety. Accountability and penalty

With the approval of this municipal ordinance, any person shall be held criminally or civilly liable to all acts of stigma, shame, disgrace, humiliation and harassment against the people concerned.

The penalty imposed shall be in its maximum and could be a ground for filing administrative case if ever the person violating the ordinance is a public officer.

The ordinance imposes penalty to violators, whereas, any person or unauthorized Public Officer who will be caught violating will have to pay a fine worth Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P2,500.00) or shall be filed with a criminal or civil liability under the proper court of Law or both.

The Local Government of Pakil seeks to eliminate any form of discrimination in their town through the passage of this municipal ordinance. (Joy Gabrido)


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