MANILA - Valenzuela City will pass an ordinance penalizing quarantine violators and look into authorizing its citizens to arrest others who violate COVID-19 quarantine, its mayor said Thursday as Quezon City released guidelines on the measure.
All virus patients in Valenzuela are admitted in 6 isolation facilities, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said.
Residents who await their test results for some 2 days are watched over by policemen or village watchmen (tanods), he added.
"What we’re going to do is to further strengthen it, the city council will pass an ordinance where we will penalize potential violators but that’s very remote in Valenzuela because like I mentioned, there are isolation facilities or hospitals," he told ANC.
"Whenever you say citizen’s arrest, we’re worried it might be subject to abuse. It might lead to further chaos rather than putting order to it. That’s why we have to study it a little because we wanna know what mechanism did Quezon City put in to prevent those type of abuses from happening."
Even without authorizing citizen's arrest, Gatchalian said the city's policemen, local task force, and barangays are "empowered to make sure that people wear masks, follow social distancing and proper hygiene."
The city in May passed an ordinance criminalizing COVID-19 jokes, he added.
"COVID should never be a joke because it’s a serious matter, we can’t be desensitized and make it a part of a daily routine of joking around about it," Gatchalian said.
"For people who have gone thru it, for families who have lost family members, making it a joke is actually quite insensitive and very painful."
As of Wednesday, Valenzuela has logged 734 COVID-19 cases, of whom 307 recovered and 14 died.
The Philippines has so far reported 58,850 cases of novel coronavirus, with 20,976 recoveries and 1,614 deaths.