PROBE: Penalties effective in keeping number of quarantine violations low
CEBU CITY, Philippines — An ordinance slapping hefty penalties to quarantine violators has been effective in keeping the number of reported violations in Cebu City low, local authorities said.
The city’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (PROBE) observed that there was an improvement in the strict compliance of minimum health standards now that anyone caught not following them would be imposed with hefty fines.
Racquel Arce, head of PROBE, told CDN Digital in a phone interview on Monday, August 17, that their team apprehended and fined only one individual for violating quarantine rules when the new order officially took effect last Sunday, August 16.
“He was caught on the streets without a quarantine pass,” said Arce in Cebuano.
Arce also said the new law was effective in ensuring that residents would follow the city’s health protocols that were put in place to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Before the ordinance took effect, we recorded triple digits in terms of people caught not following our quarantine laws. But recently, we observed a decline in the numbers,” said Arce.
The PROBE chief also hoped this trend would be sustained especially that Cebu City’s general community quarantine (GCQ) status was extended until August 31 by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID).
“We believe individuals are now more aware (of the rules) considering they will be made to pay fines if they will be caught violating them,” Arce added.
The new rule imposes a fine of P3,000 or imprisonment of 30 days for first-time offenders. 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 PROBE, various police stations in Cebu City also attributed the same development to the new ordinance. /dbs
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