Baguio mandates use of face mask as precaution vs COVID-19

By Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY -- Going to public places without wearing a face mask during the time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is now unlawful in the Summer Capital.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong  (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN) Mayor Benjamin Magalong

Mayor Benjamin Magalong signed the approved ordinance seeking to mandate the wearing of face masks by all persons in the city during the declared state of emergency over the pandemic.

Under the ordinance, the following acts are prohibited:

Leaving one’s home to go to public places, buildings, national roads or highways, sidewalks, walkways, public conveyance, and other similar establishments; going to workplaces/work spaces, whether enclosed or outdoor, without wearing a mask; plying city roads, alleyways, or streets, whether riding a public or private vehicle or a motorcycle, without wearing a face mask; and transacting business with any person without putting on a face mask.

Under the ordinance, face mask profiteers and hoarders and those who manipulate the prices of face masks being sold to the general public shall be penalized.

Persons or entities found to have committed any of the aforementioned prohibitions shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P3,000 and cancellation of business permit, if applicable, for the third offense.

The ordinance also states that violators may be subject to sanctions as provided for in Republic Act No. 11332, the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, and other applicable existing laws/ordinances.

The ordinance authorizes the City Health Services Office, the Baguio City Police Office, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the Public Order and Safety Division, the Permits and Licensing Division, and barangay officials to enforce the rules and regulations indicated.

The ordinance states: "there is a need to remain vigilant against the highly contagious disease as we go about our lives while our communities continuously adjust to every coronavirus development.

Requiring the use of face masks shall be the city’s standing policy until the COVID-19 threat is completely eliminated, the ordinance said.