An ordinance was filed this week at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan seeking to penalize acts of discrimination against frontliners and persons who had been afflicted with COVID-19.
Liga ng mga Barangay President and Board Member Ferdinand Zaballa, who initiated the measure, said it was in keeping with a resolution of the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (NIATF) to protect frontliners and Covid patients from harassment.
“Ang mga front liners natin, they did not sign up for this nor they were ready. Wala sa atin ang naka-foresee na may darating na ganitong unos. Pero andiyan na ‘yan, at magpasalamat na lang tayo dahil nandiyan sila na patuloy na nagtatrabaho para sa kapakanan nating lahat,” Zaballa said.
Under the proposed ordinance, individuals are prohibited to stigmatize, discriminate, disgrace, shame, humiliate, and harass any person who is diagnosed, suspected and being monitored with COVID-19, including returning OFWs and those who are at risk of infection such as the health and service workers.
Any person caught violating the act would be fined ranging from P3,000 for first offense to P5,000 for third offense with consecutive hours of community service.
“It pains me to learn that the front liners and COVID-19 patients are discriminated when all they need the most is our support and understanding. These people didn’t choose to be in their situations. Walang gustong magkaroon ng sakit ng COVID,” he said.
“The contagion is bad enough but the lack of compassion and and humanity towards those who are suffering from it and those who are fighting against it make it shamefully worse, that is why I am asking you to work with me on this,” Zaballa added.
Earlier, the Department of Health also urged local government units (LGUs) to implement anti-discrimination ordinances to protect coronavirus disease patients and front liners.