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Pacquiao’s ‘new normal’ bill imposes P5k to P50k fines for quarantine violations

Violations of quarantine protocols shall be exacted with fines ranging from P5,000 to P50,000, according to the ''new normal" bill recently filed by Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Both mitigation and quarantine measures were laid out under Senate Bill No. 1461 or the proposed "Contagion Mitigation Act" which aims to institutionalize new norms to prevent the spread of contagious diseases like COVID-19.

Based on the provisions of the proposed law, all public and private establishments that have the capacity to allow in its premises at least ten people at any one time shall be required to place disinfectants at the entrances and must provide functional hand hygiene facilities for free use. There shall also be mandatory body temperature checks.

These establishments must provide hair nets and face masks to employees who will have physical exposure to customers during their duty. Those handling food products must also be wearing disposable gloves.

Social distancing of at least one meter shall likewise be observed in these spaces.

The bill also states that information "minimally sufficient" to enable contact tracing shall be taken by establishments from their customers.

Establishments which will not adhere to the said rules shall have their permits and operations suspended until compliance is made.

Pacquiao also proposes contagion mitigation measures in schools such as increasing the air flow and ventilation in buildings, and establishing protocols on how to handle students and staff who are feeling unwell.

Further, the bill provides that during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic or should similar outbreaks occur, "every individual residing in areas declared to be under enforced community quarantine or lockdown by the national government is restricted from leaving his or her place of residence."

Only those who are working government-declared essential service providers, procuring essential goods and services, obtaining medical treatment, and attending to emergency situations will be allowed to go out.

Social gatherings shall also be banned and social distancing must be followed at all times.

Further, the unhygienic spitting or expelling of saliva, phlegm, mucus, and other substances from the mouth and nose shall be prohibited in public places.

Proper waste disposal and provision of protective equipment for those handling these shall also be observed.

Violators may face a fine of P5,000 on the first offense, P10,000 on the second, and P50,000 on the third.

More than 136,000 violators of the enhanced community quarantine have been recorded by the Philippine National Police in different parts of the country as of the last part of April.

Over 99,000 have been warned by authorities, more or less 6,000 were fined, and around 31,000 were arrested. — RSJ, GMA News