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Self-discipline, not fines: Rama slams penalty vs quarantine violators

Mae Fhel K. Gom-os (The Freeman) - February 26, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama said imposing higher fines on quarantine violators will not solve the increase in the number of COVID-19 active cases.

Rama said that putting them in jail or having them pay the fine will only create more problems than being a solution.

Self-discipline, he said, is the best solution to curb the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

“Wa na’y kwarta ang mga tawo, pamultahon pa nimo? So unsay mahitabo? Mao bitaw na nga I’ve always been advocating down the line, let’s just be disciplined. We should never be into punitive, I’ve always been corrective.”

‘You have to remember inig abot nimo sa penalty, inig abot imo sa fine, I’m telling you, you’re more creating a problem than solving the problem,” he said in a forum organized by the Cebu Citizens Initiative yesterday with a theme ‘Living on COVID-19.’

Mayor Edgardo Labella wants the amendment on the penalty for quarantine violators implemented soon in order to deter individuals from violating health protocols.

The City Council already amended the Quarantine Ordinance of the city in December 2020 to impose the P1,000 fine for first-time offenders. But the amendment is yet to be enforced.

At present, the administrative fine for quarantine violators is at P500. But they have an option to render community service in lieu of paying the fine.

Rama said arresting the violators and putting them in a congested cell or jail could only lead to more cases.

“What are we trying to promote? We are promoting transmission,” he said.

Rama, who is also the convenor of the vaccine board, emphasized the importance of discipline in taking heed of the minimum health protocols.

He introduced the protocol enforcement marshall (PEM) platform wherein anywhere the people go, one should make a way of life WUHAN which stands for Wash your hand, Use your face mask, Have your temperature checked, Avoid crowded places, and Never touch your face including the mouth, eyes, and nose.

“In that platform, in that dimension when we are going from the household down to the workplace even from household to the malls, then from the household to churches, and from the household everywhere you go, any fiesta for that matter, any gathering, for as long as you will be reminded of WUHAN,” he said while urging the public to also observe social distancing.

Aside from that, Rama said the public should practice discipline among themselves by not talking while eating particularly in the eateries, restaurants, and even at the house to avoid transmission.

“So I wish nga kanang giingon ninyo nga dakop, dili mana mao nga solution. Dili na mao. Ang pinakaimportante... gikan sa balay padong sa trabahoan make it a way of life WUHAN. Gikan sa balay padong sa simbahan pauli sa balay WUHAN. Gikan sa balay padong sa mall WUHAN, gikan sa mall padong sa balay WUHAN, gikan sa balay anywhere in public places, WUHAN.”

“I’m telling you,  no amount of imprisonment, no amount of violation being apprehended will solve this problem — only when we go back to the household,” said Rama.

On the other hand, General Mel Feliciano, the IATF deputy chief implementer for the Visayas, said in the same forum that uniformed personnel and other personnel hired by the city government are deployed in villages 24/7 to enforce the minimum health protocols.

Increased police visibility, including foot patrols, in interior roads will also help in the implementation of the protocols, he added. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, KQD (FREEMAN)

MICHEAL RAMA
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