Baguio mayor orders fresh offensive vs. protocol violators as city tightens guard vs. more infective COVID variant

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Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered a fresh offensive against violators of health and safety protocols in the city as the city tightened its guard against the new more infective variant of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Tourists will not be spared, according to the mayor, who warned that visitors who will not follow the city’s rules on the wearing of face masks and shields, physical distancing and the like will be ejected from the city despite fulfilling the travel requirements prior to entry.

In separate memoranda issued Jan. 14, the mayor directed the Baguio City Police Office under City Director P Col. Allen Rae Co and the Public Order and Safety Division under Division Chief Marvin Herrera and the city’s 129 punong barangays “to intensify actions to ensure that the general public is compliant with minimum public health standards.”

The BCPO and the POSD were “reminded to institute the necessary actions or impose proper sanctions against all persons who continue to defy, or refuse to abide by our current health protocols as clearly provided in Republic Act 11332 or City Ordinances Numbered 45-2000 (mandatory wearing of face masks) and 46-2000 (observance of physical distancing).”

He asked Co to mobilize all police stations which are now required to regularly submit accomplishment report on their daily operations.

Police personnel at checkpoints should intensify inspection of documents of travellers coming to the city especially those from the National Capital Region where the country’s first case of the new variant came from.

The mayor also tasked the traffic enforcement unit to inspect public utility vehicles to see if they are complying with the safety requirements like the installation of plastic barriers and making sure that their passengers and barkers are wearing proper personal protection equipment.

To the barangays, the mayor asked the heads to “submit progress reports or documentation of any and all COVID-19 awareness and preventive practices being done in the barangays (and) to update monitoring reports of (contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases) and persons undergoing home quarantine to their District Health Centers.”

For business establishments, the mayor tasked the Permits and Licensing Division to ensure that all business owners are religiously observing and imposing the protocols in their jurisdictions.

The mayor also encouraged citizens to take the initiative of reporting violators of the said health measures to help law enforcers.

Under Ordinance No. 45-2020, persons caught violating the face mask requirement face fines amounting to P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense and P3,000 for third offense while establishments or entities face penalties of P3,000 and cancellation of permit.

For Ordinance No. 46-2020, individuals not following the physical distancing rule will be slapped fines amounting to P500 for first offense, P1,000 for second and P3,000 for third offenses while establishments are liable to fines ranging from P1,000 to P3,000 plus permit cancellation. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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