The enactment of a local ordinance is the fastest way to crack down on undue discrimination against front line workers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.
In a message to newsmen, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said asking Congress to pass a law to prosecute acts of discrimination against front-line workers may take too long.
“Considering that Congress is not in session and that it generally takes a substantial amount of time to enact a law of national application, it is more expedient during this period of public health emergency that Sangguniang Bayan (municipal councils) enact their own ordinances prohibiting specific acts of discrimination against health workers and imposing penalties for violations,” Guevarra said.
He added that whether in the form of an ordinance or an executive order, “local government issuances presumably have a deterrent effect on the commission of discriminatory acts in their respective jurisdiction.”
This came amid reports of health workers and other front-liners being denied access to convenience stores, lodging houses and other public spaces by proprietors and persons fearing of being infected by the disease.
Authorities earlier vowed to extend all forms of assistance to all front-liners and protect them from attacks and harassment. (PNA)