Duterte orders police to arrest people breaking COVID rule on face masks

Published May 5, 2021, 11:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Any person not properly wearing a mask in public may face arrest and detention for nine hours at the police station, President Duterte warned Wednesday night.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang)

In a televised address, the President directed the police to apprehend and investigator violators of the government’s rule on mask-wearing as he cited the need to enhance compliance with health protocols to suppress the surge of coronavirus cases.

Wearing of masks is one of the government’s minimum public health standards in all areas under community quarantine to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.

“‘Yung iba, for compliance lang, naglalagay ng mask pero nakalabas ang ilong (Others wear a mask for compliance but don’t cover their noses) My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the people kasi kung hindi mo madepensahan ang publiko, to arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it,” the President said.

“You have nine hours, detain mo. Imbestigahin mo siya kung bakit ganoon ang behavior nila (Investigate the reason behind their behavior),” he said.

Duterte said he was compelled to be strict in enforcing the mask rule to ensure the protection of the public from the illness. He reminded people to wear their masks properly, covering both their noses and mouths.

“Pag hindi ko ganunin, hindi ko kayo higpitan, walang mangyayari (If I don’t do it, I don’t become strict, nothing will happen),” he said.

Duterte lamented that while some were breaking the mask rule, he was having difficulty in addressing the pandemic.

“Ako dito hirap na hirap. Pawala na pera natin sa bangko tapos sige pa rin kayo galaw nang galaw ng hindi tama, eh mapupunta sa stasyon (I’m having a hard time, our funds in the bank are running out while you break movement curbs, you will land in the police station),” he said.

He said if the country was living in ordinary times, mask waring would be a “stupid requirement.” But the country faces a public health emergency, and the wearing of masks was crucial to boost protection against the coronavirus, he added.

“Ayaw mo ng usapan na maganda, eh di ayan. hulihin mo. imbestigahan mo (You won’t listen to reason so there you are, arrest them, investigate them). Nine hours stay in the station,” he added.

As of May 5, the country reported 5,685 cases of coronavirus that pushed the total to 1,073,555. The country’s death toll reached 17,800.