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Nueva Ecija sets fine, prison term vs abuse of coronavirus cases, health staff

 

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Nueva Ecija provincial government passed an ordinance making it unlawful to discriminate against COVID-19 patients, suspected cases, health workers, and other frontline emegency personnel such as security personnel and employees of establishments that remain open. 

Governor Aurelio Umali on Wednesday, April 8, signed into law Ordinance No. 30-s-2020 or the “Anti COVID-19 Discrimination Ordinance of 2020” after it was unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. 

Residents are prohibited from uttering abusive remarks against patients, suspected cases, and frontliners, as well as revealing "sensitive information" about them.

The ordinance also covers social media posts.

Violators of the ordinance face a fine of up to P5,000 and prison term of up to 6 months.  

“It shall be unlawful for any person whether natural or juridical to make any act of or make utterances that may cause stigma, disgrace, shame, humiliation, harassment or otherwise discriminating against a person infected with COVID-19 or those under investigation or monitoring for the disease or against a health worker or front liner as defined by this Ordinance,” according to Section 3 of the ordinance.

Vice Governor Umali, head of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, called for kindness amid the pandemic. “Let us put aside our discomforts and allow ourselves to be more kind, compassionate, caring and loving of one another while we continue to pray for God’s mercy, understanding, and forgiveness,” he said in his Facbook post on Thursday.

The ordinance also prohibits public officers from refusing to help recovered coronavirus patients, persons under investigation (PUIs) and monitoring (PUMs) for the disease, and health workers when they're moving to or from their homes for essential travels. They're expected to have proof of clearance from health officials. – Rappler.com