3 LGUs in Ilocos Sur pass anti-COVID19 discrimination ordinances

ILOCOS SUR — Three local government units in the province of Ilocos Sur passed measures that would penalize discrimination against frontliners, migrant workers and confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients. 

On Monday, the Vigan 7th City Council enacted Ordinance No. 12 s. of 2020 prohibiting any person from committing any act of discrimination which cause stigma, disgrace, shame and manifest prejudice, harassment, unequal treatment, exclusion, restriction, humiliation or vilification against a person infected, under investigation or monitoring due to COVID-19, health worker or frontliner in Vigan City. 

The “Vigan Anti-COVID19 Discrimination Ordinance of 2020,” aims to protect those affected with the COVID-19, including the health workers and frontliners, from unjust discrimination brought on by fear and panic by the public.

Specifically, it is prohibited for any person to commit the following:

a.    Refuse admission or expel from public markets, supermarkets, groceries, banks, pharmacies, and other establishments providing essential necessities as defined by Executive Order No. 10, s. of 2020 of Mayor Juan Carlo Medina.

b.    Refuse entry or eject from usual accommodation in any lodging house or apartment by reason of his/her work or profession.

c.    Refuse or fail to give assistance to a person infected, PUI or PUM who has obtained clearance of the COVID-19 infection from the proper health officials and health worker or frontliner who intends to return to his place of residence or domicile. 

d.    Deny confidentiality of COVID-19 status by any person who shall publicly claim, post on social media, spread or announce that a person is infected, PUI or PUM due to COVID-19 whether or not the same has been confirmed or validated from the list given by the authorized proper health officials, agency or department except when the patient concerned has waived his or her right to privacy and for purposes of contact tracing and other medical purposes. If the person violating is a public officer, the penalty imposed shall be in its maximum and can also be a ground for filing of an administrative case against said official.

Any person found to be violating the provisions of this ordinance shall be punished by a fine of Php3,000.00 for the first offense and Php5,000.00 for the second offense.

If committed by a juridical person, the President, General Manager or person with related interest shall be held liable and penalized with a fine amounting to Php5,000.00.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of Banayoyo also approved Ordinance No. 2020-06 on Monday, an “Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Relative to COVID-19 Pandemic in the Municipality of Banayoyo.”

“This present administration condemns or denounces all acts of discrimination inflicted upon healthcare workers, OFWs, COVID-19 cases, whether confirmed or suspected, recovered or undergoing treatment, as well as PUIs and PUMs. These acts of discrimination include, but not limited to, coercion, libel, slander, physical injuries and the dishonor of contractual obligations such as contracts of lease or employment,” the ordinance reads. 

Any individual or group found guilty of this ordinance shall be meted with a fine of Php2,500.00 or an imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both at the discretion of the court. 

The ordinance is applicable until such time the enhanced community quarantine is lifted. 

Likewise, Tagudin Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr. issued Executive Order No. 34 s. of 2020 on April 9 prohibiting any forms of discrimination inflicted upon healthcare workers, OFWs, COVID-19 cases, whether confirmed or suspected, recovered or undergoing treatment, as well as PUIs and PUMs, and penalize, either criminally, civilly, and/or administratively, any person who shall be found to commit any discriminatory acts against the aforementioned groups of persons. 

Earlier, the LGU of Santiago issued a similar measure prohibiting and penalizing all acts of discrimination.