Nograles cites all Metro Manila LGUs for passing COVID-19 anti-discrimination ordinances
QUEZON CITY, April 21, (PIA) — Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles cited all the local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila for heeding the call of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to pass anti-discrimination ordinances to safeguard COVID-19 patients and frontliners.
“All local government units in Metro Manila have passed measures prohibiting the discrimination of medical and health frontliners and COVID-19 patients,” Nograles said in a press briefing on Monday, April 20.
At the same time, he also urged the public to report acts of discrimination to the National Bureau of Investigation for appropriate action.
To recall, The cities of Manila and Parañaque were the first LGUs to heed the call.
Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso earlier said that because of the gravity of the situation, there is an urgent need to combat the pervasive stigmatization towards health care workers and those who were afflicted with the COVID-19 virus.
“As such, there is a need for the city government to bring normalcy and order amidst the crisis and protect its constituency from unjust discrimination brought on by fear and panic by the public,” Mayor Isko said.
Recognizing the urgent need, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto adopted Manila City’ s resolution and all other LGUs in NCR followed.
Same call was also made by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año who earlier said, “We are alarmed by the reports on the harassment and discrimination experienced by our frontline workers. They are our heroes in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they don’t deserve to be harassed and discriminated.”
Another proponent was Senator Risa Hontiveros who urged LGUs to act fast to stop the harassments and discriminations being done to COVID-19 frontliners.
“An anti-discrimination ordinance for the protection of health workers and other frontliners in the time of COVID-19 should establish clear mechanisms for the reporting and redress of grievance,” Hontiveros emphasized.
There were earlier reports of harassments and discrimination towards healthcare workers, other frontliners working in hospitals, and individuals who were afflicted with the virus as well as individuals who came into contact with positive cases.
First harassment reported was that of a health worker who was with bleach solution on his face almost harming his eyes. Then followed with reports of eviction, not being allowed to enter their homes and boarding houses, verbal abuses, infliction of physical harm, refusal of services, and of OFWs not allowed to go home to their provinces despite given clearance by the Department of Health (DOH).
For her part, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, at that time, lauded the fast action of Moreno, “This is a necessary step towards avoiding unfair treatment and crimes against our countrymen who are victims of this virus, including our frontliners who are instrumental in our fight against COVID-19.”
“Our health care workers and other frontliners are helping our country survive this crisis. Instead of turning our backs on them and hurting them because we are scared of getting infected, we need to give them thanks and celebrate them. There is no match for their dedication and service to our country,” Vergeire stressed. (PIA NCR)