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Hontiveros to file anti-discrimination bill for health workers

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday vowed to file a bill seeking to protect the health care workers from discrimination on the heels of reports of such acts prevailing amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the country.

Hontiveros said her proposed measure—which she would file when session resumes in May—will be an amendment to the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act or Republic Act 11332.

"We should work towards eliminating future violent incidents against health workers," she said in a statement.

"All levels of government should work together to ensure that our frontliners can perform their noble duties, free from violence or discrimination by misinformed or hysterical individuals," she added.

Moreover, she said that anti-discrimination ordinances of local governments will be one of the most expedient ways for now to resolve the grievances of health workers and other frontliners, and penalize discriminatory acts committed against them.

Hontiveros lauded the local government units that already implemented the measure and implored others to do the same.

"Hindi sapat ang ating pasasalamat sa ating mga frontliners kung hahayaan lang natin silang masaktan o maabuso. Let us repay the hard work and selflessness of Filipinos fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that they are safe and welcome in our communities," she said.

The Department of Health also made the same call last weekend.

"Ang mga health care workers at iba pang frontliners ang tumutulong sa atin upang maitawid natin ang ating bayan sa krisis na ito," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"Imbis na sila ay ating itaboy at saktan dahil sa takot na mahawa tayo sa COVID-19, sila po ay ating dapat pasalamatan at pag-bigyang pugay," she added.

Lawyers from the University of the Philippines College of Law have offered to defend individuals who have experienced discrimination amid the health emergency.—AOL, GMA News