MANILA – Authorities have so far apprehended a total of 18,862 individuals for not wearing face masks properly from May 6 to 10, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday said.
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Año reported that of this number, 9,379 were given a warning, 8,027 were fined, 491 rendered community service, 904 were arrested, and 61 were subjected to inquest proceedings.
“Patuloy po nating ipapatupad ang inyong pag-uutos na arestuhin ang mga hindi po sumunod sa pagsusuot ng face mask. Tuloy-tuloy po naming ipatutupad ang inyong instructions sapagkat ito po ‘yong pinagmumulan ng sinasabi nating outbreak ng Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) kapag po sumuway sa public health standard protocol (We will continue to enforce your order to arrest those who violate the rule on wearing of face mask. We will continue to implement your instructions because violations of health protocols result in an outbreak of Covid-19),” Año said.
This came following the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte last week to apprehend individuals who will be caught not properly wearing a face mask.
Año also reported that he and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra are currently discussing guidelines on the implementation of rules on wearing face masks and the prohibition on mass gatherings.
He also reported that 280 people were caught violating the prohibition on mass gatherings.
Out of this number, 244 were warned, 35 were fined and one was arrested.
Año also noted that 5,473 individuals were apprehended for violating physical distancing rules — 4,071 were warned, 1,011 were fined, 205 rendered community service and 186 were subjected to inquest proceedings.
He added that the local police has summoned Romeo Rivera, chairperson of Barangay 171 in Caloocan City, over the operation of the Gubat sa Ciudad Resort despite the prevailing modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
“The PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Caloocan City government are now in the process of filing charges against violators, including the owner of the resort,” Año said.
Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar ordered police officers to provide free face masks to persons who cannot afford to buy one.
“Violators can be held for a maximum of 12 hours while undergoing investigation and booking procedure. During such time, we will provide them face masks to protect our own investigators, and their fellow violators,” Eleazar said.
Violators will also undergo a record check to determine whether they were earlier apprehended for similar offenses.
Intensified anti-drug campaign
Año also reported that the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign has been relentless amid the pandemic.
He added that authorities seized PHP265 million worth of illegal drugs in 1,121 operations from May 1 to 9.
“The confiscated illegal drugs were shabu, 29.98 kilos, and marijuana, 516.9 kilos. A total of PHP265,904,094 (from) May 1-9 police operations,” he said.
Año said 1,581 suspects were arrested while 19 suspects were killed in these operations. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com