The provincial board approved this week an ordinance aiming to institutionalize the protection of frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.

Dubbed “Frontliners and Patient Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Ordinance of the Province of Palawan”, the measure primarily seeks to insulate frontliners and their families from harassment and discrimination.

Board Member Ryan Maminta, the main author of the ordinance, said they passed the measure in response to random reports of harassment and discrimination of health workers and frontliners.

“The need for definitive measures or legislation to protect the frontliners during any public health emergency is necessary.

Frontliner’s duty during the emergency is supposedly complemented with our support, respect and understanding in view of risk they are directly facing,” Maminta said.

The ordinance specifically makes it unlawful for any person to execute, perform or carry out acts that are considered harassment and discrimination against frontliners.

Enumerated among these acts are: inflicting physical injury; disallowing to board public utility vehicles; preventing entering on his/her boarding house; deliberately placing frontliners in public ridicule, physical or verbal abuse; throwing any liquid, objects, or any materials to any frontliners; denying access to food establishments; the indifference of treatment in availment of any public programs or services; and any other inimical acts detrimental to the safety, health, condition, and interest of any frontliners.

The measure also provides for support to frontliners from local chief executives for ensuring transportation to and from their place of work as part of contingency plans during a suspension of transportation services.

Any person found violating the ordinance will be fined an amount of P5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both discretion of the court.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.