Magdalo partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan is seeking to amend the two-year-old law on the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern to protect the country’s health workers, frontliners, and patients against any acts of discrimination and all of forms of violence.
He filed House Bill No. 7908, the proposed “Mandatory Protection of Health Workers, Frontliners and Patients Act,” to amend specific provisions of Republic Act No. 11332, also known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought fear and panic in the country as the numbers of infected cases rise. Sadly, the pandemic has also inflicted prejudice and discriminatory acts towards the frontliners, especially our healthcare workers due to the nature of their work,” Cabochan said in his bill’s explanatory note.
He laments that there have been incidents of health workers being evicted from their residences and refused services in eateries or transportation over fears of contracting the disease.
“This proposed measure seeks to protect our health workers, frontliners, and patients against acts of discrimination and all forms of violence connected to their duty of work or medical circumstances,” Cabochan said.
“We recognize the sacrifices and devotion of our public health workers. They do not deserve unjust treatment. Thus, the government should be at the forefront of instituting policies that will protect them against prejudice and discrimination.”
House Bill No. 7908 seeks to expand the list of prohibited acts under the 2018 law.
Under the proposed Act, the additional prohibited acts are the following:
-All forms of discrimination or unfair or unjust treatment against a heath worker, a frontline , or any act that has the effect of actually causing or placing the same under a reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm, or impedes the conduct of duties, provided that if the same act is punishable under a different law, the law imposes a higher penalty will apply; and
-All forms of physical, emotional, and psychological violence or the threat thereof of such violence, against an individual suspected of being, or confirmed to be, a carrier of the notifiable disease, whether the same is true or not.