THE Cebu City Legal Office (CLO) is open to render legal assistance to health care workers experiencing discrimination amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
When it received reports that two nurses working at the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) were barred from entering their boarding houses, the CLO intensified the implementation of City Ordinance 2563, or “The Frontliners Protection Ordinance of Cebu City.”
The CLO received the complaint-letter of the nurses on May 29, 2020, yet.
City Attorney Rey Gealon said the CLO will coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is tasked to enforce the law.
Under the ordinance, violators will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense.
Violators can also face one- to 30-day imprisonment upon court discretion.
Under Section 3 of the ordinance, frontliners should not be denied access to public programs and services otherwise available to the public; refused admission or expelled from public markets, supermarkets, groceries, bakeshops and convenience stores; refused entry or ejected from usual accommodation in any lodging house, apartment, motel, hotel, inn dormitory and other place of dwelling.
“The CLO assures CCMC personnel, including doctors, nurses, paramedical and support staff and those similarly situated that our lawyers will be at the forefront in protecting their rights, especially against discrimination,” Gealon said.
Gealon said the City is ready to grant legal assistance to all health care workers who have suffered the same plight as the two nurses from the CCMC.
“They may visit the City Legal Office directly as the incident arises. We advise that they find time to visit the City Legal Office for the execution of the affidavits for filing of the proper complaint under this ordinance,” he said.
Aside from the nurses, the ordinance also provides protection to other frontliners, such as health volunteers; hospital workers, administrative staff, janitors and security personnel; national and local government officials and employees in the exercise of frontline functions; personnel of PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcers; emergency responders like members of the Philippine Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Barangay Health Emergency Response Team; and employees of establishments providing essential services such as funeral parlors, medical supplies manufacturers and those providing basic services. (JJL)