BY JOSEPH PEDRAJAS
The Navotas City government has passed three ordinances imposing stricter penalties on residents and jeepney drivers violating various health protocols amid the rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.
Fines and penalties of those violating the curfew hours and of those not wearing face masks and face shields properly as well as of drivers who do not limit their passengers to 50 percent, among others, have been amended under several new measures.
Ordinance No. 2021-19 stated that adults who will be caught outside during the curfew hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. without valid reason; minors who will violate the 24-hour curfew hours; and individuals who will not comply with the mandatory wearing of face masks shall be meted right away with a P5,000 fine on their first offense.
Previously, the penalty for the said offenders was mandatory free COVID-19 swab testing. But the local government said it upgraded the penalty following reports that several violators tended to give false information to apprehending authorities which had prevented them from being line-listed for testing. Meanwhile, Ordinance No. 2021-21 amended Section 6 of Ordinance No. 2020-40 or the “Wear Your Face Shield Ordinance” by stating that those not wearing face shields while in public transportation, markets, workplaces and other enclosed establishments in the city will be required to undergo swab testing on their first offense.
The testing must be done within a week from the time of their apprehension, according to the local government.
The measure added that second and third-time offenders will be fined with P500 or required to render 16 hours of community service if apprehended again within 14 days of their first offense.
“If 14 days had passed, they shall undergo another free, mandatory swab testing,” the local government said.
While under Ordinance No. 2021-20, a fine ranging from P500 to P1,000 awaits jeepney drivers who will not limit their passengers to 50 percent and fail to install plastic barriers inside their vehicles.
“We urge everyone to continue to follow the minimum safety protocols… These simple deeds can save lives, and these can help us end the pandemic,” Mayor Toby Tiangco said.