Yellow-tagging of COVID-19 patients' houses not against the law: DILG Usec

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2021 10:39 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2021 10:52 AM

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MANILA – "Yellow-tagging" houses with COVID-19 cases in Pateros does not violate the law because it is voluntary, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said.

Interior Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño made the statement amid concerns that placing yellow ribbons outside the homes of COVID patients in Pateros violates RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Section 9 of the said law prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of private and confidential information pertaining to a patient’s medical condition or treatment.

“So yun ang sagot ni Mayor, this is voluntary, kaya kung halimbawa’t voluntary naman talaga ang ano, e palagay ko hindi naman siguro malabag, dahil kung halimbawa’t sabihin mo na ‘Mayor ‘wag kayong maglagay diyan, anyway naka-lockdown na kami, nakabantay na ano,’ so yun naman yung sagot agad ni Mayor diyan,” Diño said in an ANC Rundown interview.

“Kaya kung ano yung opinion ni Mayor, yun din yung opinion ko,” he said.

Pateros Mayor Miguel “Ike” Ponce said Monday that he ordered the tagging policy last week to ensure the monitoring of residents infected with coronavirus.

"Lalagyan kayo kung kayo'y payag lamang. 'Pag hindi kayo payag, wala tayong problema," he said.

In March 2020, Justice Secretary Meynardo Guevarra said RA 11332 may be used as a legal basis for the arrest of quarantine violators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But some of these cases against quarantine violators were junked after lower courts and prosecutors ruled that it could not be used as legal basis for the arrests.

Guevarra has since advised the Inter-Agency Task Force not to arrest or detain violators and impose community service for them instead.

Diño said marking the houses of COVID-19 patients is a good idea because it may prompt neighborhoods to work together to fight the spread of the infectious disease.

“Kung tutuusin, yun ang ano ni mayor na kung saan na matutukoy ngayon natin kung sino ‘yang mga tao dyan sa naka-lockdown na ‘yan, para tayo mismo, ma-prevent na natin na lumabas sila. Dahil una identified naman sila ng Health department kaya sila na-tag doon sa granular lockdown.”

“Eh di kung ganoon magtulong-tulong ang kapitbahay sa kaliwa, kapitbahay sa kanan, kapitbahay sa likod, kapitbahay sa harap, na ‘wag kang lalabas diyan for 14 days para ‘di ka na makahawa dito sa aming kalsada, sa aming lugar, sa aming barangay,” he explained.

Diño also called on those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to bear the burden of staying isolated in their homes to keep themselves and their neighbors safe.

“Dapat naman siguro, it is high time for us na magkaroon tayo ng concern sa ating mga ano, na ‘pag alam natin na positive na tayo, magtiis na tayo ng 14 days na ano, kaysa naman, anong gusto mo? Naka-quarantine ka sa bahay? O nasa ICU ka?”

Diño added, “Ibig sabihin, iligtas natin ang buhay ng bawat tao. Dahil unang-una, ang dala-dala nito, nakakamatay itong COVID-19. Itong virus na ito nakakamatay ito. Kaya siguro seryosohin natin.”
--ANC, 21 September 2021