By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao filed today, May 8, Senate Bill 1461, the Contagion Mitigation Act, that seeks to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases in the community such as the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Pacquiao said that given the urgency to institute measures to mitigate the spread of viruses and other microbes that cause diseases, his bill seeks to institute health and hygiene measures that could lead to a ‘’new normal’’ in communities.
‘’This shall not only prevent the spread of contagious diseases but may even lessen the occurrence of common illnesses,’’ he explained.
The bill seeks a mandatory physical distancing, or a distance of one meter between persons in public places, use of face masks, and avoid physical contact when greeting another persons.
The bill also seeks to ban spitting in public places and coughing without mouth and nose cover.
It also seeks to prohibit social gatherings and going out of residences under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) except for essential services, emergency cases, buy medicines food, and other essential needs.
The measure asks businesses to adopt health measures such as the regular use of hand sanitizers and use by their employees or workers of face masks and the putting up of posters advising the public on how to avoid COVID-19 infection.
The Pacquiao bill imposes a P5,000 fine for first offenders, P10,000 for second offenders and P50,000 for third offenders.
Officials of business establishments that violate the measure would face fines and its license would be suspended or its stores closed.
Pacquiao stressed that his measure is needed to protect everybody from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.