Las Piñas criminalizes harassment vs frontliners, COVID-19 patients | Inquirer News
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Las Piñas criminalizes harassment vs frontliners, COVID-19 patients

/ 05:47 PM April 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Las Piñas has passed an ordinance penalizing the harassment, including cyber-bullying, of frontline workers fighting COVID-19 and city residents who are infected with the disease.

In a statement, Las Piñas Mayor Imelda Aguilar has signed City Ordinance No. 1685-20, which considers such harassment as a violation that merits imprisonment.

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“Any form of discrimination or harassment committed against health workers, frontliners and coronavirus disease (COVID-19) afflicted residents is now a crime in Las Piñas City and violators would be meted with imprisonment and stiff penalties,” the stated released by the city hall read.

The city ordinance also prohibits cyber-bullying or any acts that would cause shame or stigma against confirmed COVID-19 infected person, their close contacts, as well as patients under investigation (PUI), persons under monitoring (PUM), health and hospital workers, and other frontliners.

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The ordinance was passed after several instances were reported where frontline workers were discriminated — including an incident in Cebu City where nurses were prevented from entering the condominium unit where they live in.

A lot of health care workers, especially those working for hospitals engaged in treating COVID-19 patients, have complained of discrimination as people fear of contracting the disease through them.

According to the Las Piñas’ city government, cyber-bullying is committed by spreading rumors, unverified information using gadgets and social media sites, or “other similar methods that may cause unnecessary fear, panic or violation of the rights of COVID-19 patients or the frontliners.”

“Anyone who would be found violating the ordinance would face imprisonment of not more than six (6) months or 30 days community service, or P5,000 fine, and/or both fine or imprisonment. The jail term and fine would be without prejudice to other penalties provided in other existing laws and ordinances,” the city explained.

“Maximum penalties would be meted out if the violator is a public official, aside from the administrative cases to be filed against the official who would tolerate, or refuse to take any action to prevent any form of discrimination,” it added.

As of 4pm Monday, Las Piñas has 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with three deaths, four recoveries and 83 currently hospitalized.

The Department of Health said that nationwide, there are now 4,932 infected patients — 315 of which have already died while at least 242 have recovered.

Worldwide, over 1.8 million individuals have been infected, while 114,063 have died from the disease and 421,500 have recovered from it.

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 patients, Cyber bullying, enhanced community quarantine, frontline workers, frontliners, harassment, health workers, Las Piñas, lockdown, Mayor Imelda Aguilar, Metro Manila, nCoV update, Philippine news updates
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