THE Cebu City Council approved on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, the amendatory ordinance lowering the fines for violators of community quarantine imposed by the government to slow down the Covid-19 transmission.
The local legislative body’s move came just three days after City Ordinance 2566 took effect on Sunday, August 16.
City Ordinance 2566 (An Ordinance Penalizing any Violation in Relation to the Implementation of General/Enhanced Community Quarantine in Cebu City During Public Health Crisis) penalizes violators with P1,500 for first offense; P3,000, second offense; and P5,000, third offense or 30 days imprisonment, depending on the discretion of the court.
Not wearing masks in public, failing to carry quarantine passes and going out on a day with wrong quarantine passes are the common violations committed by city residents.
After receiving complaints that the penalties were too high, Mayor Edgardo Labella requested the City Council to amend the ordinance.
City Councilor David Tumulak then made a move by authoring the amendatory ordinance, which was approved during the council’s online regular session.
In the amendment under Section 12 of the ordinance, the quarantine protocol violators must pay an administrative fine of P500 for the first offense; P1,000, second offense; and P3,000, third offense.
The fines must be paid to the City Treasurer’s Office. After the payment, the violator should present an official receipt to the apprehending officer. The receipt is the basis for the violator’s release.
The third-time violator might also face 30 days imprisonment, or both jail time and paying a fine of P3,000, depending on the court’s decision.
Also stated in the amendatory ordinance: In lieu of service in jail, the court may also require that the penalty for the violator is by rendering community service within Cebu City on terms based on Republic Act (RA) 11362, or the Community Service Act.
In case the violator is a minor, the provisions of RA 9344, or the Juvenile Justice Law of 2006, must be applied.
According to the ordinance, the minor offender must be turned over to the barangay’s Gender and Development Focal Office for profiling, counseling and proper disposition. Moreover, the City Government and implementing officers can call the attention of the minor’s parents and may subject them to any legal action.
The ordinance’s section 12 has a retroactive effect for the benefit of the city residents who have been previously apprehended for any violation under the ordinance.
An official receipt issued by the City Treasurer’s Office must be presented to the appropriate officers and should suffice for the proper dismissal of the case.
Cebu City is under general community quarantine until Aug. 31, 2020. (JJL)