Sun. Feb 28th, 2021

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday warned operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to comply with the public transport ban imposed in line with the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon or face revocation of their franchise and criminal charges.

“Action against the franchise becomes important since operators may force their drivers to continue plying routes. The possible cancelation, etc. of the franchise could deter operators from doing so. The criminal case is distinct from the administrative remedy,” Justice Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete told reporters.

The suspension of public transport is meant to minimize the mobility of people and prevent mass transmission of the disease, Perete said.

“Those who insist on operating these facilities and disobey orders from law enforcers to desist from further operations may be held to account,” he added.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier urged the public to cooperate with the government’s Luzon-wide quarantine as he stressed that violators will face charges.

Speaking to newsmen 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.

If the act is done with violence, Guevarra said more serious charges of direct assault may be filed against the violators.

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 PHP50,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months.

Similar penal provisions are also provided under the Quarantine Act, Guevarra said, adding that these measures do not equate to martial law. (PNA)

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