Hefty fines, penalties await violators of Cebu City’s quarantine rules

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 28,2020 - 02:13 PM
LOOK: Police personnel continue to man a checkpoint in Baragay Suba, Cebu City to discourage residents from leaving their homes this Saturday morning, June 27, 2020. | Gerard Francisco #CDNDigital

Policemen continue to man a checkpoint in Barangay Suba, Cebu City to discourage residents from leaving their homes this Saturday morning, June 27, 2020. | Gerard Francisco #CDNDigital

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Fines of up to P10,000, imprisonment of at least 30 days, and possible closure of business operations await violators of Cebu City’s community quarantine measures.

This as the City Council last Friday, June 26, enacted an ordinance ‘penalizing any violation in relation to the implementation of the city’s community quarantine during a public health crisis’.

The ordinance, penned by Councilors Dave Tumulak, Raymond Alvin Garcia, and Philip Zafra, applies to all types of community quarantine status.

“There is imperative need to exact stern compliance from the public during a time of epidemic, pandemic and other health events 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 stated.

In a follow-up message, Tumulak told reporters that the ordinance would take effect ’15 days right after publication of general circulation’.

First-time violators of the city’s health protocols will be fined with P3,000 or could face 30 days of imprisonment or both.

If they are caught the second and third time around, the penalty increases to P5,000 and P10,000 respectively. Both also entailed imprisonment for up to 30 days.

Aside from imposing fines, the city council ordered individuals apprehended for breaking community quarantine rules to be stripped of their financial incentives.

These include cash aid from Cebu City, and any grant, tax amnesty, or other monetary and financial benefits, if any, for a period of two years from the imposition of penalty.

Business establishments are also subject to punishment if they are proven to have not complied with the minimum health standards mandated to them by the city government. If caught, their business permits could be revoked or could have their operations closed.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), Prevention Rehabilitation Organized Beautification and Enhancement (PROBE) team, barangay officials and barangay tanods are directed to enforce the ordinance.

Cebu City is the only area in the entire country that was placed back to the strictest form of community quarantine last June 16.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF – MEID) stated that the continuous rise in the number of additional coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, and demand for critical care in the city were alarming.

In addition, President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to lead the city’s COVID-19 response. Cimatu’s arrival also paved the way for an increased police presence and changes in quarantine rules.

A day after the council passed the new ordinance, a fiesta celebration held in a sitio in Barangay Basak San Nicolas last Saturday, June 27 reached the attention of several city officials and caught the ire of netizens. An investigation is now being conducted on the event that violated the city’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols. /dbs

READ MORE: Probe sought on fiesta celebration in Alumnos

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