Crimes Punished During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act was a law declaring the existence of national emergency arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
This law was approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 24 March 2020 and took effect immediately after its publication in the Official Gazette, and shall be in full force and effect only for three (3) months, unless extended by Congress.
Pursuant to this law, the following offenses shall be punishable, to wit:
- Local government officials disobeying national government policies or directives in imposing quarantines;
- Owner and possessors of privately-owned hospitals, medical and health facilities, including passenger vessels, and other establishments who unjustifiably refuse to operate pursuant to the directive of the President;
- Engaging in hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, and cartels, monopolies or other combinations in restraint of trade, or other pernicious practices affecting the supply, distribution and movement of food, clothing, hygiene and sanitation products, medicine, and medical supplies, fuel, fertilizers, chemicals, building materials, implements, machinery equipment and spare parts required in agriculture, industry and other essential services, and other articles of prime necessity, whether imported or locally produced or manufactured;
- Refusal to prioritize and accept contracts for materials and services necessary to promote the herein declared national policy;
- Refusal to provide thirty-day grace periods on the payment of loans and residential rents falling due within the period of the enhanced community quarantine (17 March 2020 – as of this writing, extended until 30 April 2020), without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges (Loans shall include but not limited to salary, personal, housing, and motor vehicle loans, as well as credit card payments.);
- Individuals or groups creating, perpetrating or spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, such information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear or confusion; and those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the current crisis situation to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts;
- Failure to comply with reasonable limitations on the operation of certain transportation sector or sectors, whether land, sea or air, be it private or public; and
- Impeding access to roads, streets, and bridges, putting up prohibited encroachments or obstacles; and maintenance of illegal constructions in public places that have been ordered to be removed.
The foregoing offenses shall be punishable with imprisonment of two (2) months or a fine of not less than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10, 000.00) but not more than One Million Pesos (P1, 000, 000.00), or both, such imprisonment and fine, at the discretion of the court.
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