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QC gov't passes ordinance punishing acts of discrimination amid COVID-19 pandemic

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has signed on Monday an ordinance that punishes people who discriminate against persons suspected and infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and members of their households.

Executive Order No. 26, Series of 2020 also protects health and emergency workers and their families from any act of discrimination.

“Discrimination has no place in our city, especially during this time of crisis. We must put a stop to this once and for all,” said Belmonte in a statement.

“Ngayong may karampatang parusa na ang diskriminasyon, umaasa akong magdadalawang-isip na ang sinumang nagnanais na gumawa nito,” she added.

Belmonte issued the order after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) encouraged local government units to pass measures that would protect frontliners and individuals positive for or suspected of having COVID-19 against discrimination.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported incidents of people being evicted from their homes, harassed, maltreated and injured.

Some were refused services by local stores, transportation services while some were shut out of boarding houses and other establishments over the  fear of being infected.

Under the Quezon city ordinance, any act of discrimination against persons under investigation (PUIs), persons under monitoring (PUMs), COVID-19 positive individuals, health workers, emergency responders and service workers are now prohibited.

The acts include denial of access to any place or service, including housing, food and transportation due to suspected infection or exposure to COVID-19.

The order also bars stigmatization or the disclosure of the identity or personal data of a PUI, PUM or any person suspected of having been exposed to COVID-19, whether offline or online, that would result in putting the concerned person to shame.

Public officials should not refuse assistance to PUI, PUM, COVID-19 positive persons or any person suspected of having been exposed to the virus.

Violators will be penalized under Sec. 9 (a) of Republic Act 11332 or the Data Privacy Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Revised Penal Code, depending on their actions.

Belmonte said the order will be in effect until President Duterte lifts the state of public health emergency. -- BAP, GMA News