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Bill penalizing discrimination vs. health workers, patients filed in Senate

A bill seeking to punish discriminatory acts against health workers and patients was filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday as the country grapples with  coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Senate Bill No. 1436 aims to prevent threats, acts of violence, harassment against medical frontliners and patients by amending Section 9 of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Under the proposed measure, violators may be fined P20,000 to P50,000 and face imprisonment of one to six months.

“In the midst of this crisis, our health workers continue to work at the frontlines, risking their and their families’ health and well-being for the health and well-being of our community. Discrimination against health workers is a crime against public health,” Hontiveros said.

Several frontliners lament over the discriminatory treatment that they have been receiving especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, an ambulance driver was shot in Candelaria, Quezon while having dinner at a subdivision. The suspect was an irate resident who reprimanded the driver for bringing the hospital ambulance to the area.

The driver explained that the vehicle was mainly used for transporting personnel in and out of a hospital, and that it is regularly disinfected.

Meanwhile, a nurse at a hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was attacked with bleach while he was on his way to work. --Dona Magsino/KBK, GMA News