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DILG-10 to LGUs: Protect privacy of COVID-19 patients

As the government calls on all coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 patients to truthfully and accurately disclose their personal data to proper authorities to contain the spread of the virus, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-10 reminds the local government units (LGUs) on their responsibility to protect such information.
“Kung kinsa’y naa’y mga COVID-19 cases, mga suspected, ang atong mga punong barangay dili na sila allowed nga magngalan ug positive sa publiko,” DILG-10 Regional Director Arnel Agabe said during the Northern Mindanao COVID-19 Response Task Force press conference, June 25.
(Our punong barangays are not allowed to disclose the names of our COVID-19 confirmed or suspect cases to the public)
He added that the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) implement the Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and the Data Privacy Act of 2012 in processing COVID-19 patient data in pursuit of disease surveillance and response.
Based on the said joint memorandum circular, the DOH only discloses the obtained data to public health authorities and concerned health care providers for purposes of contact tracing and management of the disease.
It also states that the personally-identifiable data may also be disclosed to other government entities authorized based on DOH guidelines.
“Kung naa’y violation sa privacy or na’y data breach sa personal information of security incident, kini siya, kung kinsa’y responsable pwede na siya mahatagan ug pinalidad in accordance with RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012,” Agabe said.
(If there is a privacy violation or data breach on the personal information of security incident, those responsible will be dealt with in accordance with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012)
Doing so can help lessen the fears of patients on COVID-19-related physical assaults, harassment, and discrimination, and encourage them to report their symptoms, take confirmatory tests, and submit themselves to treatments by proper authorities, the NPC stated.
As to complaints on imposing the health protocols, Agabe said they have not received any complaint regarding the barangay officials who have not imposed the minimum public health standards. If ever there are violations on such, the official is held liable with negligence of duty. (RTP/PIA-10)

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