The City Council, during last Mondays, regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance mandating the designation of health protocol officer or personnel in all business establishments in the city until the threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is completely eliminated or during the declared state of public health emergency and providing penalties for violation of the policy.
City legislators stated that no such designation of health protocol officer or personnel shall be made by the business establishment unless the aforesaid individuals have undergone the required orientation or seminar on health protocols and guidance on prevention and control of COVID that will be conducted by the City Health Services Office (CHSO) where a certification will be issued by the said office as proof of completion of the same.
Under the proposed ordinance, it shall be unlawful for any business establishment not to temporarily designate its own health protocol officer or personnel mandated to perform the exclusive functions and for its failure to direct, instruct and supervise its health and safety protocol officer or personnel in the performance and accomplishment of their functions.
The council added that business establishments found violating the provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P2,000 for the second offense and a fine of P3,000 and cancellation of business permit if applicable for the third and succeeding offenses.
The council tasked the CHSO, the Baguio city Police Office (BCPO), the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) and the City Permits and Licensing Division of the City Mayor’s Office and the different barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) to be responsible in the strict implementation of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance.
Further, the information officers of the City Government of Baguio have been required to cause the widest dissemination of the proposed ordinance to compel businesses to designate their own health protocol officers and personnel.
According to the council, the divided attention and carrying multiples tasks impacts the very purpose and motivation of implementing minimum health standards which is the health and safety of the community.
The council recognized the fact that COVID can be transmitted through close contact with infected persons or with surfaces or objects that have been contaminated by the secretions of infected persons.
As a result of the prevailing modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, Baguio City eased up restrictions on business activities and economic interests.
However, the council noted that it has been observed that personnel such as security guards, managers, employees and the like of business establishments had been performing dual roles, thus, their respective functions in implementing minimum health standards in their respective stores, shops and other establishments, including those within malls, and shopping centers. By Dexter A. See