Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has expressed support for local government units (LGU) enacting their own measures prohibiting the discrimination of frontliners and COVID-19 patients.
"Whether in the form of an ordinance or an executive order, local government issuances presumably have a deterrent effect on the commission of discriminatory acts in their respective jurisdiction," Guevarra said in a message to reporters on Monday.
He said it is "more expedient" for LGUs to enact their own ordinances penalizing acts of discrimination against healthcare workers, since Congress is not in session and national laws take longer to enact.
The Department of Health (DOH) has also urged LGUs to implement anti-discrimination ordinances amid reports of harassment against medical frontliners.
Manila is enforcing a new ordinance prohibiting acts or words that humiliate, harass, or otherwise discriminate against persons infected or under investigation or monitoring for COVID-19, health workers, and frontliners, including government personnel rendering emergency frontline work and service workers in the private sector.
Violators stand to face a fine of P5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months.
In Candelaria, Quezon, an ambulance driver was injured after getting shot by a man who thought he was transporting COVID-19 patients.
A nurse in Sultan Kudarat was mobbed by five people and doused with bleach, injuring his eyes.
A medical technologist in Cagayan de Oro claimed some public vehicles have declined to let her board.
As of Sunday, health authorities have recorded 3,246 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 153 deaths, and 64 recoveries. --KBK, GMA News