The city government has enacted a measure penalizing discriminatory acts committed against healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients.
The ordinance was approved on third and final reading Monday. It prohibits and penalizes discriminating healthcare workers, suspected, probable, confirmed COVID-19 patients as well as repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Any person found violating the ordinance will be fined an amount of P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 for the third offense.
Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates, one of the ordinance authors, said they passed the measure following reports of discrimination experience by several frontliners and COVID-19 patients in the city.
“Isa sa mga naging reasons why we came up with this ordinance is nakikita natin sa Facebook ay bina-bash ‘yong mga nagiging COVID-19 positive [patients],” Socrates said.
Socrates said that there were reports that some frontliners were being refused entry in grocery stores and even being denied transportation.
“May mga instances na na-report sa amin na like kapag may bumibili doon sa tindahan or sa grocery dini-discriminate o in-avoid sila ng tao. May nangyari sa iba nating healthcare workers na noong nalaman na nila na sila pala ay mga frontliners, parang nag-refuse ‘yong ibang mga tricycle and multicabs,” Socrates added.
Former ex officio councilor Mea Aine Abdurajik, a staff nurse at the Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP), expressed support to the ordinance, stating that it is an important gesture of support to their sector.
“It is a good reminder that we (healthcare providers) are supported by the city government. During these times of crisis, what we actually need is support, and not to be discriminated against or harassed,” Abdurajik said.
(With a report from Romar Miranda)