DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Persons who will break the 14-day home quarantine as part of protocol for Covid-19 testing will now be penalized according to an ordinance passed by the City Council last August 11.
The ordinance, passed under suspended rules, was filed by Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, chair of the council’s health committee.
The ordinance will require residents and non-residents staying in Davao City to abide by the mandatory 14-day home quarantine imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or local health authorities.
The mandatory 14-day quarantine is applied to:
all asymptomatic returning Overseas Filipino Workers, whether sea-based or land-based, subject to the arrangements, and rules and regulations imposed by the governing authority,
asymptomatic returning OFWs and holder of permanent resident visas,
asymptomatic Locally Stranded Individuals,
asymptomatic healthcare workers with unprotected exposure (defined as working in a healthcare facility with confirmed Covid-19 patients within the last 14 days without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)) should remain isolated for 14 days unless RT-PCR tests are available,
asymptomatic non-healthcare workers who test IgM positive in rapid tests are required to undergo isolation at home or a community quarantine facility for 14 days,
and other such cases.
“We are living under unusual times in a pandemic, therefore, it is very important that persons who are told to undergo a 14-day home quarantine be penalized if they violate such quarantine,” said Villafuerte.
The ordinance was certified as urgent by the Office of the City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.
Violators will be penalized with P5, 000 and will be subject to six months imprisonment or depending on the discretion of the court.
The Department of Health, Davao City Health Office, and the Davao City Police Office, the Office of the Punong Barangay and the respective Barangay Emergency Health Response Teams (BHERT) shall ensure the enforcement of the new ordinance.
In her speech, Villafuerte admitted that she did not personally recommend imposing penalties to persons violating the 14-day mandatory quarantine in consideration to the current economic crisis, but saw the need to pass this ordinance to ensure measures preventing the transmission of the virus.
“We do have national laws I understand, but I feel we will send a stronger message to deter Davaoeños from violating quarantine laws if we pass this ordinance,” she said.
Davao City has recorded 1,049 cases of Covid-19 infections as of August 12, with 745 recoveries. In Davao Region, there have been 1,641 cases with 1,051 recoveries.
The new ordinance has earned mostly praise from Davao City netizens who posted opinions on the new rule on the City Government of Davao Facebook page.
Some netizens even suggested to have a higher penalty for violators.
“P5K is nothing compared to the effort to find and do contact tracing. Increase it to the maximum fine, P50K and 3 days imprisonment. For those who cannot pay the fine, 3-6 months imprisonment. If you do this luko luko na lang ang mag violate,” one netizen said.
But according to the Republic Act 11332 or the Law On Reporting Of Communicable Diseases, persons affected or suspected to have communicable disease may be penalized by the local government, and fines can be meted but not more than the penalty provided under the local government code which is P5,000. (davaotoday.com)