Jail term, fine await ECQ violators

CEBU, Philippines —  Violators of the general/enhanced community quarantine protocols in Cebu City may soon get more than just dancing the Sinulog or rendering community service.

This as the City Council has approved an ordinance imposing fine and imprisonment against those who violate the rules during public health crisis.

Among the prohibited activities are loitering in the streets and other public areas, going out of the residence without the required G/ECQ passes, or without wearing any facemasks or other forms of protective equipment, or disregarding city regulations like going over the prescribed speed limit.

“There is imperative need to exact stern compliance for the public during a time of epidemic, pandemic and other health event of public concern with a penalty of imprisonment and/or other penalties in order to instill in the minds of the residents the gravity of the situation; to deter any more violations which put at risk the health of the community and in order to amplify the seriousness and imminent threats during this grave health crisis,” the ordinance reads.

Section 6 states that the G/ECQ pass shall only be used for the following exclusive purposes: availment or purchase of essential goods, medicines, and medical supplies and other basic commodities; exercise of profession or occupation for workers in the exempt establishment; for any other essential purposes as defined.

Section 7 states that the stay at home order will not apply to medical practitioners, officers, hospital staff, nurses, and health volunteers; emergency personnel; all authorized national and local government officials and employees; drivers and personnel of delivery vehicles of all types of cargoes; accredited media personnel; farmers, fishermen, and agri-business personnel; and persons who seek medical attention or who are already admitted in any medical facility, provided that only a maximum of two companions shall be allowed, among others.

Sectopm 8 provides that during the period of G/ECQ, all public and commercial/business must be closed, except: all government offices providing basic services; hospitals, medical clinics, and laboratories; pharmacies, medical supplies and drug stores; gasoline stations; funeral parlors; food manufacturers and suppliers; public markets, supermarkets, groceries, bakeshops, and convenience stores; laundry shops; telecommunications companies; delivery services; such other establishments considered as exempted under the executive order issued for the purpose of declaring a state of G/ECQ; among others.

Section 9 states that social distancing of at least one-and-a half meter distance (1.5 meters) shall, at all times, be observed in public places, commercial/business establishments and in public/private vehicles shall be observed.

Under Section 11, any offender who exhibits or develops any symptoms of illness or disease during the period of his temporary detention shall be immediately reported to the city mayor or authorized health authorities for treatment and further management to the hospital, medical, or quarantine facility.

The penalties are as follows: fine of less than P3,000 or an imprisonment for less than 30 days, or both at the discretion of the court for first offense; fine of not less than P5,000 with 30-day imprisonment, second offense; and fine of P10,000 with 30-day imprisonment for third offense.

Other penalties include: forfeiture of benefits and allowances that may be granted by the Cebu City government. The violator will be disqualified from receiving the Cebu City’s cash incentives, financial assistance, any grant, tax amnesty, or other monetary and financial benefits, if any, for a period of two years from the imposition of the penalty.

Revocation of business permit and closure also await establishments caught violating the rules.

The approved ordinance is authored by Councilors David Tumulak, Raymond Alvin Garcia, and Philip Zafra and approved in the council session held last June 27.  KQD (FREEMAN)




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