Stiffer penalties for those who discriminate against COVID-19 patients proposed 

Published April 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Citizens’ Battle against Corruption (CIBAC) partylist lawmakers vowed on Tuesday, April 7 to push for the passage of a bill imposing stiffer penalties against any acts that promote stigma, hate, and cruelty to people with the dreaded disease.

Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva (Bro. Eddie Villanueva Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva (Bro. Eddie Villanueva Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Speaker Eduardo “Bro.  Eddie”  Villanueva and Rep. Domingo Rivera of CIBAC  partylist exhorted the public not to resort to any “savage and ‘unFilipino’ treatment” of people who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) following the reported stoning of a family residence in Iloilo with confirmed COVID-19 infection.

“It is with grave dismay that we denounce, in strongest terms, such barbaric act of hurling stones to the home and relatives of people infirmed with COVID-19 disease, or any disease for that matter,” Villanueva said in a statement.

The founder and leader of the Jesus is Lord
Church Worldwide (JIL) called on the authorities to immediately arrest the perpetrators of the April 3 incident.

“We call on everyone not to imitate nor resort to this kind of savage and ‘unFilipino’ treatment of people positive of COVID-19  for it will stir further chaos and instability especially in these distressing times,” he said.

“The loved ones of people who contracted COVID-19 disease should be treated with utmost compassion, sensitivity and understanding because even they themselves did not wish to be in their situation,” he added.

The Manila Bulletin earlier reported that stones were hurled at the family residence in Lambunao town,  Iloilo after four more members of the household tested positive for COVID-19. Their 70-year-old patriarch succumbed to COVID-19 last March 29.

Confirmed to have contracted the disease were the deceased patriarch’s 70-year-old wife, 48-year-old daughter, 41-year-old son, and 39-year-old daughter.

Villanueva said when Congress buckles down to work in May,  they will push for the passage of a bill that would impose stiffer penalties against any acts that promote stigma, hate and inflict cruelty to people with dreaded disease.

“People suffering from any kind of disease deserve to be loved and be understood, not to be vilified and harmed. We will ensure that our laws will deter such degree of discrimination from happening again,” he said.

Rivera, for his part, asked the public to strictly follow the government’s social distancing policy and other protocols that would help prevent the spread of the disease.

“This is in order to prevent oneself from being a victim or from being a carrier of the virus,” he said.