Manila to crack down on discrimination against COVID-19 patients, frontline workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) - The city government of Manila now makes it punishable to discriminate against persons with coronavirus disease, those suspected with infection, and all health workers.

City Ordinance No. 8624 or the “Anti COVID-19 Discrimination Ordinance of 2020” prohibits any form of harassment or discrimination against the above-mentioned persons as well as government forces in the frontlines.

The ordinance was created following reports of people being evicted from their houses or rejected from establishments out of fear that they could infect others. Some social media posts went as far as spreading names of individuals who are allegedly infected with coronavirus.

Under the ordinance, people who will make false utterance, humiliate, harass, discriminate, and refuse to provide assistance to COVID-19 patients, those who are under monitoring and investigation, recovered patients, and frontline workers will be penalized.

Penalties include a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday also ordered the police and military to watch out for anyone who will harass health workers. This came after a hospital personnel in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was allegedly attacked by strangers by throwing bleach at his face.