Lawyers from the University of the Philippines College of Law have offered to defend individuals who have experienced discrimination amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Monday.
“We are encouraged by the fact that just a day after I raised this issue there are lawyers from the University of the Philippines College of Law and from all over have volunteered their services to victims of discrimination,” he said in a virtual press conference.
Nograles denounced over the weekend the discrimination against COVID-19 patients, frontliners and returning overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
He also warned that acts of discrimination will be punished and asked local government units to pass measures to address the matter.
Last Thursday, an ambulance driver in Candelaria, Quezon, was injured after getting shot by an individual who claimed the ambulance he was driving was transporting COVID-19-positive patients.
The driver explained that the vehicle was only being used to transport frontliners and was regularly disinfected.
Ignoring the explanation, the suspect fired his gun at the ground, causing the bullet to ricochet and hit the driver's hand.
A male medical staff member also suffered injury in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, after individuals who alleged he was COVID-19 positive spattered him with bleach.
Philippine National Police chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa had already ordered all local police units across the country to provide assistance and security to all health workers. --KBK, GMA News