Following a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government will crack the whip on violators of various ordinances on minimum health protocols.

“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi siniseryoso ang ating mga ordinansa ukol sa ating health protocols. Now, we will give them a reason to take this very seriously as we won’t be lenient this time around,” said Belmonte.

Belmonte issued the pronouncement after Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), reported that the average daily new cases in the city reached 149 from Feb. 25, 2021 to March 4, 2021.

According to Belmonte, violators of health protocols, such as non-wearing of face masks in public places, will be fined on the spot to teach them a lesson not to put their life and the lives of others at risk.

Ordinances SP-2957, S-2020 and SP-2985, S-2020 — which mandates the wearing of face masks in public places and directing all those below 15 years old to remain at home, respectively – both impose a fine of P300, P500 and P1,000, for the first, second and third offenses, respectively.

In the past, the city government issues Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) to violators in which they are given a chance to pay for a period of five days.

Belmonte also warned that establishments that violate minimum health standards will be dealt with more severely, especially hotels being used as quarantine facilities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“There were reports that some quarantine hotels allow patients to leave the quarantine premises even before they finish the required quarantine period,” said Belmonte.

She said violators will be immediately penalized under Ordinance No. 2934, S.-2020, or the city’s guidelines on community quarantine.

“If the need arises, the CESU can initiate the filing of cases against violators of quarantine, isolation, and other health protocols,” Cruz said.

The city government is also eyeing the possibility of suspending the release of police clearance, occupational permit, barangay clearance and hawkers’ permit to apprehended individuals or establishments who refuse to pay the said penalty indicated in the OVR.

In addition, the Department of Public Order and Safety will also deploy around 3,000 volunteers under the Barangay Disiplina Brigade program all over the city to strictly enforce all Covid-19 related ordinances.

Members of the brigade will help in the enforcement of health protocols in communities, and they will also be tasked to report which areas are needed to be put under Special Concern Lockdowns (SCL).

Rannie Ludovica, head of Task Force Disiplina, reported that 2,630 people were caught for violating health protocol-related ordinances last month.

“Ang TF Disiplina ay umiikot 24/7 sa ating lungsod para mahuli ang mga lumalabag sa health protocols. We are strictly monitoring problem areas to lessen further transmission,” said Ludovica.

Belmonte urged concerned city offices and the barangays to intensify monitoring and implementation of health protocol-related ordinances to quell the spread of COVID-19.

She also renewed her call to residents to do their share in the fight against the virus by religiously following minimum health protocols.

“This is for your safety and the safety of your loved ones and the community you live in,” said Belmonte.