VIOLATORS of the mandatory 14-day home quarantine will now be penalized after the 19th Davao City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday, August 11.

The ordinance, passed under suspended rules, seeks to penalize all persons violating the mandatory 14-day home quarantine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, as imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), or any public health authorized by the body.

According to the ordinance filed by Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, the chairperson of the Council committee on health, it will apply to all residents of Davao City and non-residents who are transiting or are being in the city for mandatory quarantine due to Covid-19.

Individuals can be quarantined at a government, or private facility, or at one's place of residence.

Based on the IATF guideline, all asymptomatic returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and locally stranded individuals (LSIs), whether sea-based or land based, are subjected to the mandatory quarantine.

Also subjected to home quarantine, according to the ordinance, are asymptomatic healthcare workers with unprotected exposure, especially those working in a health facility with confirmed Covid-19 patients within the last 14 days without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). They can be discharged unless they already took a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Asymptomatic healthcare workers positively-tested using the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) test are also required to undergo self-isolation at the given quarantine facilities.

Persons caught violating the ordinance will be penalized with P5,000 for every time they are caught.

The Department of Health, Davao City Health Office, and the Davao City Police Office will be the lead implementer of the ordinance.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Punong Barangay and respective Barangay Emergency Health Response Teams will also ensure its implementation.

Villafuerte, during her speech, said the item was certified as urgent.

Villafuerte admitted that initially, she did not recommend imposing penalties due to the hardships brought about by the pandemic.

But she said there is a need to pass such measures to also prevent them from possibly transmitting the virus to others.

"That is why persons who are told to undergo a 14-day home quarantine be penalized if they violate such quarantine," the councilor said.

"We will send a stronger message to deter Dabaweynos from violating quarantine laws if we pass this law," Villafuerte added.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in her previous radio interview, had received reports of some returning individuals not properly observing the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the city.

According to the Department of Health in Davao Region, returning individuals, especially LSIs and ROFs, had contributed to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the city and other areas in the region.