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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has raised concern over reports of harassment and discrimination being experienced by the country’s medical frontliners amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Lagman made the remarks following a health care worker in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was reportedly splashed with disinfectant on his face by some residents who were allegedly paranoid about getting infected by the coronavirus.

According to Lagman, the forced cleansing of the medical worker with bleach and other detergents by neighbors as well as their alienation including their children and families, and their unwarranted eviction from their leased premises, “constitute threats and coercion which are punishable under Articles 283, 286 and 287 of the Revised Penal Code.”

“The penalty of light threats is arresto mayor or one month and one day to six months; grave coercion is likewise punishable with arresto mayor, and light coercion or unjust vexation is penalized with arresto mayor in its minimum period,” said Lagman.

He stressed that healthcare professionals and workers who are manning the frontlines the country’s battle against COVID-19 “should be lauded and hailed instead of being harassed, discriminated against and demonized as virus carriers.”

“Without the invaluable dedication and courage of these anti-coronavirus warriors, many of whom have already died including 17 doctors, the spread of the deadly virus could have escalated beyond imaginable proportions in the Philippines,” said Lagman.

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