Installation of physical distancing signages in Baguio pressed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and other concerned offices of the city government to facilitate the installation of physical distancing signages in all waiting sheds and in all jeepney terminals in the city to instill to the residents the importance of practicing physical distancing to contain the spread of the Corona virus Disease (COVID) 2019.

The council, in a resolution, states that there is a need to replicate the success of the existing physical distancing markers in the public market and other parts of the central business district area by placing similar markets in waiting sheds and jeepney terminals in the city to intensify the campaign for people to strictly adhere to physical distancing at all times.

City legislators point out that in light of the modest increase in the operation of public utility vehicles in the city following the downgrading of the previous enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ), it is expected that there will be people queuing at the various jeepney terminals in the central business district area.

Further, the council stipulated that to safeguard the health and safety of the people, it will be vital that physical distancing measures should be applied to constantly remind them of the urgent need to observe the recommended precautionary measure to prevent them from contracting the deadly virus and eventually transmit the same.

At present, some 500 jeepneys and 325 taxis had been allowed by the city government to temporarily operate during the GCQ which will extend up to May 31, 2020.

Earlier, the city legislative body approved Ordinance No. 46, series of 2020, which imposes physical distancing in all activities in the city.

Under the ordinance, physical distancing is defined as maintaining a distance of at least 1-meter gap between two or more people.

Violation of the pertinent provisions of the aforesaid ordinance shall be fined P500 for the first offense; P1,000 for the second offense, and  P3,000 for the third offense if committed by an individual.

If the violation is committed by an entity, the violator shall be fined P3,000 for the first offense; P4,000 for the second offense and P5,000 and cancellation of business permit if applicable for the third offense.

Moreover, any public officer or employee who violates the ordinance may be meted administrative disciplinary action, without prejudice to the filing of the necessary criminal charges against them pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government Code of the Philippines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) clarified that the use of physical distancing is a better term than social distancing since the emphasis is maintenance of physical distance among people so that the deadly virus will not be transmitted.

Health experts and researchers also defined physical distancing as a way of creating a barrier of physical distance between two or more people so that the transmission of viruses could be prevented or halted.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis