President Duterte has ordered the police to immediately arrest all persons seen not wearing face masks in public.
In directing the strict implementation of the mask mandate, Mr. Duterte said this is in line with the campaign of government health officials to curb the worsening spread of the virus, which is why he has “no qualms” in having people arrested for violating established health protocols.
“A simple violation of not wearing a mask seems trivial, but during a health crisis it can be a serious crime,” he said during a Cabinet meeting last week.
Duterte said that hospitals are up to their necks with Covid19 patients because people have become complacent in following health protocols designed to stop the spread of infections.
“My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly, in order to protect the public…arrest them and detain them,” he said.
“Pag hindi ko ganunin, walang mangyayari.”
The president’s instructions to the Philippine National Police (PNP) seems to be at loggerheads with the opinion of Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra who last month urged the National Anti-Covid Task Force not to arrest or detain violators, and instead order them to perform community service.
He noted that it would be unfeasible for authorities to arrest and detain all health protocol violators because there is no physical space to accommodate them at any one time.
The Philippines has had to contend with a recent surge in Covid cases in the past few months, forcing the IATF to impose a strict lockdown. As a result, infections have skyrocketed (as of May 5, 2021) to 1.073 million cases.
Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler