MANILA – Returning travelers in the Philippines have been warned they may face imprisonment if they are caught violating Covid-19 quarantine protocols, Malacañang said Monday.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles reminded inbound travelers and hotels to ensure compliance with all quarantine protocols or face both civil and criminal charges.
“Sa (In the) Notifiable Diseases law it’s not just a penalty, may imprisonment din ito (there is also imprisonment),” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act, violators may be penalized with a fine ranging between PHP20,000 to PHP50,000 or imprisonment ranging one to six months, or both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court.
“Kung nag-iisip kayo mag-violate, (If you are thinking of violating protocols) then please don’t even attempt to because hahabulin ka talaga namin (we will run after you), including those hotels. You are under contract, you have certain responsibilities and you know, not just civil suits, but criminal action can also be filed against you,” he added.
He also renewed his call to the public to report suspected quarantine violators so that they can be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Kung mayroon mang nakakaalam (If you know of any violators), then please report to us immediately so that we can take proper action,” he added.
Nograles said the proper court would determine the charges against a Filipino woman who allegedly violated quarantine rules after returning from the United States as well as the Berjaya Makati Hotel, a quarantine facility in Makati City, for breaching quarantine protocols.
“That’s up to the judge. I’m not saying this will be the only case filed because it really depends on the investigation ng (of the) police, ng (of the) [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group], and the prosecutor, ultimately, what the prosecutor will file in court,” he said.
“Depende sa (It will depend on the) prosecutor if there are other violations also na puwedeng i-file (that can be filed) against the lady and the establishment. Again, ayoko pangunahan so hayaan na muna natin 'yung evidence-gathering ng ating mga kapulisan at CIDG (I do not want to preempt so let us let our police and CIDG conduct evidence-gathering),” he added.
He assured that government would prosecute violators.
“With those admissions and all of the evidence we’re getting then we will implement to the fullest extent of the law or the laws possible, kung ano ang (whatever) applicable laws, we will execute them accordingly and you know, they will bear the brunt of their actions,” he said.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat earlier said a certain Gwyneth Anne Chua admitted to skipping the five-day mandatory quarantine due to “connections” and even attended a party in Makati City.
Chua later tested positive for Covid-19.
At least 15 of whom Chua was with at the two establishments already tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The Berjaya Makati Hotel also admitted that what Chua did was “a very serious breach” amid the continuous threat of the Covid-19. (PNA)