Press Release
May 19, 2020

Dela Rosa moves for stricter measures on discrimination of frontliners and patients, violation of protocols and willfully proving false or misinformation during health emergencies

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa is seeking to ensure preparedness and the safety of the Filipino people at all times as well as to protect medical workers, law enforcers and other security personnel while performing their duties especially in times of crises.

In his Senate Bill No. 1533 or "An Act Amending Republic Act No. 11332, Otherwise Known As The Mandatory Reporting Of Notifiable Diseases And Health Of Public Health Concern Act, And For Other Purposes" filed on May 18, 2020, Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, stated the need to amend R.A. No. 11332 which was enacted into law on April 26, 2019 to include stricter measures based on the experiences that the country is now facing as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted in his explanatory note that "while the said measure keeps up with emerging diseases and health events, it was not able to anticipate the response of the people with regard to the implementation of disease prevention and control systems."

Unfortunately, included in those experiences are the reported cases of assault, harassment and discrimination directed towards our health care workers and law enforcement personnel, the same people who are now saving lives, keeping communities safe and making it possible for us to slowly return to normal. The same discrimination is being directed to suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients. Dela Rosa's SB No. 1533 seeks to prevent any of this by including in the prohibited acts: "any act that causes infliction of stigma, unfair treatment, refusal of access to goods and services, harassment or any form of discrimination against health workers and law enforcement personnel and persons identified or suspected to be infected of notifiable disease".

Dela Rosa also highlighted how some of our citizens responded to the quarantine protocols, saying: "During the ECQ, everyone was advised to stay at home... Given the apparent travel restrictions and limitations on freedom of movement, many was caught violating the "stay at home advisory". As of April 21, 2020, there are 136,517 ECQ violators."

To address this, Dela Rosa seeks to include in the prohibited acts: violation of any rules and regulations promulgated by the national government, concerned government agencies and local government units, in response to the declared epidemic or public health emergency.

Lastly, around 20% of the confirmed cases in the country are health care workers, and unfortunately, some of them caught the disease due to patients providing false information to health care workers treating them. With this, Dela Rosa is moving to revise the second item under prohibited acts, which now states: tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation, to be revised to: willfully providing inaccurate, false or misleading information by person subject of the mandatory reporting as defined in this act.

Dela Rosa believes that nobody wishes for another COVID-19 pandemic or any event of such magnitude during and even after our lifetime, however, we need to anticipate and be prepared to ensure the safety of all Filipinos at all times.

As of this writing, there are 12,718 confirmed Covid19 cases in the country with 831 deaths and 2,729 recoveries from the dreaded disease.

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