IBP-Davao offers free legal aid to harassed frontliners

(Photo by Ace Perez)

THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)- Davao Chapter pledged to provide legal assistance to frontliners who have become victims of harassment, discrimination, and any form of violence because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

IBP-Davao acting president Maceste Uy said on Monday, April 6, their free legal assistance aims to cater to reported healthcare workers who are being evicted from their boarding houses or refused to board transportation to and from their workplaces out of fear that they are infected with the virus.

Uy cited Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, wherein “a public worker shall not be discriminated against with regard to gender, civil status, civil status, creed, religious or political beliefs and ethnic groupings in the exercise of his/her profession.”

“Ang problema man gud is that ang uban natong mga health workers kay sa mga private (subdivision) nakapuyo. Mao na atong ginatuki karon if aduna ba tay mabuhat (Our problem is that some of our health workers are living in private subdivisions. That is what we are working on what legal actions we can do),” he said, adding that there were reports of home associations petitioning or barring their entry.

He also said Republic Act No. 386, also known as the Civil Code of the Philippines, stipulates that “every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons.”

The IBP National also condemned the “undue” discrimination, not only to frontliners but to patients as well.

IBP National said the patient’s rights are covered under the Magna Carta of Patient Rights and Obligation.

“We should not succumb to fear or panic that diminishes our humanity as well as our support and compassion for the victims and frontliners in the health emergency,” IBP National said in a statement.

They also said other laws and regulations remain effective and “must temper and guide the actions and initiatives of everyone”.

Department of Health (DOH)-Davao, in a statement, condemned the attacks and physical assaults of their healthcare workers feared to be Covid-19 carriers.

Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) chief of clinics and Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) coordinator Dr. Ricardo Audan allayed the fears of the public, assuring that extra precaution is being taken to ensure infection prevention and control.

Audan said SPMC personnel adhere to proper wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the hospital and regular hand washing to avoid contamination.

SPMC is the only hospital in the city accredited to cater to Covid-19 patients.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in a previous report, had also urged Dabawenyos to respect frontliners.

“Mag-remind lang ko sa tanan natong kaigsuonang Dabawenyo na dapat tagaan ninyo og respeto atoang mga health workers. Kini atong mga nurses, medtech, doctors... kana tanan. Mga nursing aid, mga security guard, tanang mga nagtrabaho sa mga hospitals (We would like to remind our Dabawenyos to respect our health workers, like nurses, medical technicians, doctors, nursing aid, security guard, and everyone who are working in hospitals) because these are the people who are protecting us right now. So sila gyud naa sa atubangan sa kagaw (they are the ones who are at the front lines fighting the virus). So we must give our full respect sa kani nga mga individuals because kung wala ni sila, wala’y mupugong sa kagaw diha sa atong mga pasyente and sa hospital (to them because without them, no one could prevent the spread of the virus among our patients and at the hospitals),” Duterte-Carpio said. (RGL)


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