THE number of quarantine violators in Cebu City has been declining since the implementation of an ordinance that penalizes any person who does not follow public health guidelines on Aug. 16, 2020.
Only 140 violators have been arrested since Aug. 16—the first day Cebu 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) was implemented.
Since Aug. 16, 67 violators have been apprehended for their failure to bring their quarantine passes, according to the data provided by the office of City Councilor David Tumulak, who chairs the committee on risk reduction and management.
A total of 37 individuals were caught for not wearing masks in public, while 36 individuals were apprehended for disobeying curfew.
The ordinance and other government measures have been imposed to discourage residents from violating the public health protocol, which aims to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Tumulak said the common curfew violators are individuals drinking liquor in public spaces. Cebu City’s curfew hours start at 10 p.m. and end at 5 a.m.
Since July, there have been no violators of the social distancing protocol requiring residents to stand at least one meter apart in public.
From July 16 to 31, law enforcers caught a total of 1,651 quarantine violators. This was the time when Cebu City was placed on modified enhanced community quarantine.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 15, there were 1,525 violators. This was the time the city was under the general community quarantine status.
Tumulak urged law enforcers to show compassion to people who failed to bring their quarantine passes.
He said some residents could have forgotten to bring their passes during emergency situations such as buying medicine for their ill relatives.
“They must look into the reason why the person committed a violation,” Tumulak said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Tumulak authored Cebu City Ordinance 2566 and its amended version approved by the City Council on Aug. 19 that lowers the fines for the quarantine protocol violators—from P1,500 to P500 for the first offense; from P3,000 to P1,000 for the second offense; and from P5,000 to P3,000 for the third offense.
In lieu of service in jail, the court may also require that the penalty for the violator be by rendering community service within Cebu City on terms based on Republic Act (RA) 11362, or the Community Service Act, according to the amendatory ordinance.
In case the violator is a minor, the provisions of RA 9344, or the Juvenile Justice Law of 2006, must be applied.
The fines were reduced after Mayor Edgardo Labella requested it. Labella had received complaints that the original fines were excessive as several city residents were jobless due to closures of businesses hit by the Covid-19 health crisis.
Violators in barangays
Barangay Sambag 1 has the most number of quarantine violators among Cebu City’s 80 barangays. Since Aug. 16, 26 violators have been arrested.
Tied at second place with most apprehended violators are Barangays Suba and Calamba, with 16 violators in each urban village.
The other barangays with most violators are Ermita, which has 13 apprehended violators; Mambaling, 12; Carreta, eight; T. Padilla, eight; Punta Princesa, five; Basak Pardo, five; and Lusaran, five.
Sambag 1 Barangay Captain Aileen Guardo said they will continue to patrol the village and remind the residents to observe the public health measures.
She said there are residents who go out to earn a living.
In Suba, Joel Sabale, the village chief, said they keep reminding the residents to wear masks and observe the social distancing protocol through a public address system.
Sable said the curfew in their barangay starts early at 8 p.m. (JJL)