MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra urged the public to cooperate with the government’s Enhanced Community Quarantine for Luzon as he stressed that violators will face charges.
Speaking to newsmen after the address of President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday, Guevarra said “considering the gravity of the present situation”, authorities may file charges against violators under a number of laws such as the Quarantine Law of 2004 (RA 9271), the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act of 2018 (RA 11332) and resistance and disobedience to a person in authority under the Revised Penal Code.
It the act is done with violence, Guevarra said more serious charges of direct assault may be filed against violators.
“This will come into play if there is serious resistance. I plead with everyone to just simply give your cooperation,” Guevarra said, adding that the situation is “something temporary” and that deployed uniformed personnel “are not the enemy.”
The violation of the RPC provisions on direct assault if found guilty may be punishable with a minimum of six months imprisonment or a fine of up to PHP200,000. Disobedience is penalized with a prison term and fines of up to PHP100,000.
Violations of Section 9 of RA 11332 on non-cooperation in the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases is punishable by a fine of not more than P 50,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months.
Similar penal provisions are also provided under the Quarantine Act, Guevarra said.
He also reiterated that these measures do not equate to martial law.
“Maraming nagtatanong kung patungo tayo sa Martial Law dito sa mga bagong restrictions na ginagawa natin. (Many are asking if we are heading into Martial Law with all the new restrictions that we are imposing). I just want to assure everyone that the answer to that question, is just resounding, no,” he said.
He added the government’s additional precautionary measures are to limit the spread of Covid-19.
“Although public safety requires it, there is no state of rebellion, there no state of invasion. Our enemy here is not a human being, our enemy is a virus,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte assured unhindered transportation of basic necessities including utilities and urged cooperation with the implementation of strict home quarantine. (with reports from Lade Kabagani/PNA)