NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The provincial government came up with an incentive plan to reward tipsters whose information can help authorities intercept violators of any of the quarantine policies.
In the incentive plan, the provincial government is ready to give a bounty of P20,000 per boat that is apprehended for violations of the no-sail policy of the Philippine Coast Guard and the executive order that temporarily prohibits inbound travels by any individual.
Under Gov. Art Yap’s Executive Order 8-A, only the following persons shall not be covered by the travel restrictions: health workers, authorized government officials, those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons providing basic services and public utilities, bank personnel and other bank employees who shall come to the province with the purpose of replenishing the cash funds and other supplies which are necessary for the continuous service of the different banks to their respective depositors and the public at large.
“People who will be caught coming in to Bohol illegally in violation of our quarantine will be proceeded against criminally, the boat will be impounded, and the owner of the boat will be charged as well. If a big ship with a franchise is caught ferrying passengers illegally in violation of our quarantine, we will file a case against the company and move for cancellation of the boat’s franchise,” the governor said.
He said this had been discussed already with Police Provincial Director Jonathan Cabal and the latter had already instructed all the chiefs of police of the towns and the city to strictly implement the orders.
Yap appeals to everybody to follow the quarantine policies stipulated in the orders of the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-COVID-19 and his executive orders to protect the general welfare.
The governor added that the head of the family where the violator belongs and the barangay captain who would conceal or choose not to report individuals who insisted on coming and refused to subject themselves to quarantine will also be charged in court.
The governor shared that he received an information from Garcia-Hernandez that a resident in the town managed to sneak into the province by docking in Inabanga and proceeded to their home in Garcia-Hernandez without subjecting himself to quarantine and the person even bragged of how he outsmarted authorities in successfully sneaking into the province despite the no-sail policy.
Yap also signed on April 8, Provincial Ordinance 2020-007 or the Intensified Precautionary Measures to Avert Widespread Contagion of Covid-19 in Bohol Ordinance of 2020.
The ordinance prohibits the following: non-cooperation of persons identified as having the infectious disease or persons related to the issue; non-cooperation of entities or establishments; violation of any of the issuances and orders issued by the local chief executive in relation to the implementation of measures against Covid-19; dissemination of fraudulent, fake news, or misleading information regarding Covid-19 in various forms of media, particularly on social media, and refusal by barangay officials to implement or their neglect in performing their duties in connection with Provincial Ordinance 2020-007.
The erring barangay officials shall be administratively liable.
Non-cooperation of persons identified as having the infectious disease or persons related to the issue is defined to be capable of being committed by any person who shall refuse to follow the protocol provided by the DOH with regard to persons confirmed to have the Covid-19, or by any person who refuses to undergo quarantine despite being mandated by the DOH or Provincial/Municipal Health Office, or by any person who refuses to be subjected to medical examinations or testing if required by the provincial or municipal government or the DOH.
Any health worker who shall negligently perform his or her duties imposed upon him/her by the DOH, the PHO, MHO or similar institutions will also be liable.
Non-cooperation of entities or establishments can be committed by owner/s of any establishment which neglects to follow the quarantine procedures and owner/s of any establishment refusing to extend appropriate assistance and support to those having the disease, especially their employees.
The ordinance also provides sanctions to any person or entity found to have committed these prohibited acts.
Persons confirmed to have Covid-19 shall undergo a mandatory quarantine or other forms of confinement identified by the DOH.
In case of minors, they shall be subject to confinement with the consent or approval of parents or legal guardians.
Refusal to follow the protocol despite the issuance of DOH orders and Provincial Ordinance 2020-007 shall be imposed a fine ranging from P3,000 to P5,000, or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both at the discretion of the court.
Establishment owners/proprietors who negligently followed the protocol (medical supplies/quarantine protocol) shall be imposed a fine ranging from P3,000 to P5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both at the discretion of the court.
Establishments or entities who refuse or negligently perform the order of the DOH or the PHO or MHO shall be subjected to a suspension or revocation of their business permit upon finding of any violation of the ordinance.
Any morgue, crematorium, funeral or embalming establishment offering cremation services which would refuse to cremate or embalm any person confirmed to have died from Covid-19 despite the written permission from the immediate family of the victim or the DOH shall be subject to closure and cancellation of their business and mayor’s permit, and the owners, proprietors and the manager of the said establishment shall be imposed a fine not exceeding P5,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both at the discretion of the court.
The Business Permit and Licensing Office of the local government units shall conduct regular inspection, price control and monitoring activities and may impose administrative fines against erring entities or establishment or recommend prosecution for violation of the ordinance.
Those persons, who are not exempted and without any valid reason, are caught strolling or roaming around in public places within the curfew hours from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. shall be imposed a fine ranging from P3,000 to P5,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both at the discretion of the court.
Those persons who purposely and willingly disseminate fraudulent or fake news, particularly on social media, that caused panic, distress or disturbance of public peace shall be imposed a fine ranging from P3,000 to P5,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both at the discretion of the court.
Also under the ordinance, patients under investigation (PUIs) are directed for mandatory hospital admission; while persons under monitoring (PUMs) are directed to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.
Also under the ordinance, the respective MHOs of all the municipalities of Bohol, in close coordination with the PHO and the DOH-7 regional office shall regularly check the conditions of PUMs over the course of the home quarantine period through the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs); issue a certificate of completion of the 14-day quarantine and clearance, as the case may be.
The Philippine National Police shall effect the compulsory confinement of persons arriving from another country or locality with or without a confirmed Covid-19 case, who refuse to undergo home confinement, or voluntary quarantine at the barangay isolation unit (BUI), and ensure their completion of the 14-day quarantine period in the unlikely event that the punong barangay and the BHERT fail to convince the subject person or persons to voluntarily undergo the 14-day quarantine.
BHERTs shall, if symptoms are observed, immediately isolate and confine the arriving resident, now a PUI, to the BUI, prior to his or her immediate safe transfer to a DOH-designated referral center or quarantine facility for further examination and treatment; place the rest of the household members under 14-day home confinement, and repeat the process for them, including the contact-tracing; and, if no symptom is observed after the 14-day voluntary quarantine, report the same to the punong barangay who will inform their respective municipal health officers and recommend the lifting of the quarantine and certify the PUIs to be free from Covid-19 infection.
As to protocols for confirmed case/s of local transmission, the mayor shall direct the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) to assess the proximity of areas near their municipality where a confirmed case of local transmission resides or frequents.
The MDRRMO shall submit a report to the mayor with recommendations for the suspension of classes or work in public offices in the proximity.
The mayors shall work closely with the DOH in conducting contact tracing; and disseminate to the public the results of contact tracings and areas where the confirmed case frequented; and encourage those who may have been in contact with the confirmed case to monitor symptoms of Covid-19 and submit to voluntary testing if symptoms arise.
The mayors shall also intensify the efforts of the coastal barangays in preventing the entry of any person coming from the neighboring provinces of Bohol using motorized bancas or boats.
They shall also ensure that only the official information and data provided by the DOH and WHO-Philippines are used in advisories, updates and information dissemination on information materials, websites and social media accounts; and monitor the proliferation of fake news relative to Covid-19 which foster panic to the community and identify the social media accounts which engage in panic-mongering or spreading unauthorized or unverified information regarding Covid-19.
The mayors shall also implement provincewide curfews from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., except for those persons performing essential tasks such as health workers, persons working on the pharmacy store, uniformed personnel, and the like.
Also provided in the ordinance is that citizens aged 65 and above, as well as those below 18 years old, are subject to home confinement for 24 hours until the health authorities shall recommend the lifting thereof.
Public officials performing their official functions shall be exempted from the provisions on curfew.
Also exempted are residents aged 65 and above who are health workers in the performance of their health functions, provided they are in good physical condition, and when public interest so requires, and that they shall not be in the forefront of the Covid-19 cases.
Persons aged 65 and above and minors aged 15-17 who actually assist their family in any farming and fishery activities are also exempted from the 24-hour curfew.