Imee: Give Health Workers Legal Cover Vs. False Claims

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Senator Imee Marcos has called for clearer legal protection for health care workers who may be falsely accused of malpractice, even as they risk their very lives to fight COVID-19.

Such legal and personal risks will increase, Marcos said, as lockdown restrictions to control the spread of the pandemic are expected to ease further at the end of May.

“Come June, we will be entering new territory in the progress of this pandemic. The unanimous clamor of Metro Manila mayors for a milder community quarantine comes as the country registered its highest number of COVID-19 cases yesterday,” Marcos said.

“The Department of Health also continues to be vague about what thresholds should guide us to protect our medical frontliners and the gains we have made since March,” Marcos added.

Marcos filed Senate Bill 1416 to amend Republic Act 11332, or the law requiring a citizen to report a notifiable disease – one which public health authorities must be informed of.

The Marcos bill expands the definition of a disease, categorically mentioning respiratory illnesses as COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and their usual complication, pneumonia.

Any person who deliberately conceals being infected with a notifiable disease or refuses to cooperate with authorities while showing its symptoms will be punished.

“The amendments to the existing law will minimize exposing our health care workers to false claims of misdiagnosis and putting their lives and those of their close associates and families at risk,” Marcos said.