Residents of Sampaloc, Manila line up for questioning by police officers after they were rounded up for violating the district’s 48-hour ‘hard lockdown’ on Thursday night.
Miguel de Guzman
LGUs urged to pass ordinance punishing quarantine violators with imprisonment
Alexis Romero ( - July 8, 2020 - 6:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — The interior department has urged local governments to pass resolutions punishing quarantine violators with imprisonment as it reminded the public to comply with health protocols to arrest the further spread of the pandemic. 

"We have encouraged our mayors to pass ordinances so that the implementation will be uniform and all violators should be punished with imprisonment so it will serve as a lesson and they will no longer violate (quarantine measures)," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said during a meeting of the government's pandemic task force in Davao City last Tuesday.

Año said the government has received complaints from 596 citizens against 886 local officials. A total of 195 cases have been filed before the prosecutor's office. Meanwhile, 182 administrative cases have been filed against barangay officials while 19 show cause orders against mayors who failed to properly distribute the aid for low-income households and displaced workers have been referred to the ombudsman.

"This effort is continuous and that includes violators who committed violations in Cebu City while it is under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) like the holding of feasts, gambling, and holding of a procession," Año said.

"We will do it because our countrymen really need to comply with minimum health standards. It is really the key to avoiding contamination," he added.

Cebu has reverted to enhanced community quarantine, the strictest lockdown scenario, because of a spike in the number of infected persons and a high utilization rate of critical healthcare facilities.

Año said local governments are doing a good job in implementing quarantine measures and are ready to implement the second phase of the National Action Plan. He said under the plan, local chief executives would serve as information managers, crisis managers, and leaders in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The government, Año said, is continuously assisting persons who were stranded because of the lockdowns. He said 4,180 stranded persons from Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, MIMAROPA, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Zamboanga Peninsula and SOCCSKSARGEN regions were sent home from July 4 to 5.

Another 5,296 stranded persons were assisted from July 6 to 7.

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