By Rommel F. Lopez

The local government of Tagum City has filed various cases against health restrictions violators in the city, among whom is a returning OFW who, instead of quarantining himself, went to a local mall to shop.

In a statement, the Tagum City LGU said criminal cases have been filed by the City Legal Office against 42 individuals who failed to settle their administrative fine after they were caught not wearing any face mask in public.

One of those charged is a returning OFW who was undergoing the mandatory 14-day home quarantine but was caught roaming around a local mall.

The city’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Task Force said the OFW, a resident of Barangay Magugpo East, was arrested after he/she was caught roaming around the NCCC Mall last November 2, 2020. The OFW was immediately brought to the Borders Inn Isolation Facility and will be charged in violation of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

The City Prosecutor’s Office said it also filed criminal cases against those caught in public not wearing their face mask stressing that local authorities are serious in implementing City Ordinance No. 939, also known as the COVID-19 Minimum Health Standards (MHS) Ordinance, that makes it mandatory for everyone to wear a face mask while in public places in the city.

Under the ordinance, those caught not wearing their face mask in public are required to pay an “administrative fine” at the City Treasurer’s Office or be charged criminally at court.

The city government has also mobilized Traffic Management Office and the local Philippine National Police Special Action Force in apprehending and issuing citation tickets to those caught violating the ordinance.  Task Force personnel continue to patrol the city to monitor the compliance of citizens ordinance to ultimately prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As of Thursday afternoon, 157 individuals were issued with citation tickets and were told to settle their penalties within 7 days from the issuance date.

Tagum City currently has 88 active cases of which 30 have been categorized as community transmission cases. Nine suspect cases have been admitted at the city’s Davao Regional Medical Center. The nine suspect cases are residents of Barangays Apokon, San Miguel, Mankilam, Visayan Village, Magugpo West, Madaum and La Filipina.