House bill criminalizing COVID-related discrimination passed on 2nd reading
House Bill 6817, or the proposed “COVID-19-Related Anti-Discrimination Act was passed on second reading on Wednesday in the vote of ayes and nays, just a day after it was approved by the Defeat COVID-19 Committee. Any person who commits harassment or assault against covered persons may be penalized by one to 10 years in prison or slapped with a fine of P200,000 to P1 million at the discretion of the court. The bill aims to grant full protection from and deems unlawful acts of prejudice and discrimination against those who have contracted and recovered from the disease, and against those who provide them with medical, logistical and service support. A medical worker in protective gear (right) tends to a patient at an intensive care unit for coronavirus COVID-19 cases. A special panel in the House of Representatives approved the substitute bill to the measure seeking to prohibit discrimination against confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease patients. AFP Discrimination was defined in the measure as “any act of unjust distinction, exclusion, or restriction which has the effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, and exercise on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any field of the public life of the person.” Those who fails to give assistance, stigmatizes, or refuses to honor valid and existing contracts involving persons covered by the measure may be imprisoned for six months to five years or be fined with P50,000 to P500,000 or both./PN Also covered in the protection are stranded individuals traveling from one local government unit to another, service workers, repatriated overseas Filipino workers, whether land or sea-based, registered or otherwise, and the families and members of the households of the persons covered. MANILA – The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure criminalizing acts of discrimination against confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients, with violators facing jail term of up to 10 years and heavy fines.