News Release

To curb COVID-19, President Duterte orders arrest of people improperly wearing face covering

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on May 5, 2021. SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, May 5, ordered a stricter mask mandate implementation to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.

In his address on government response on COVID-19, President Duterte instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to detain and question people improperly wearing face masks in public.

“Itong mask, iyong iba, na-ano lang na for compliance lang. Naglalagay ng mask pero nakalagay ‘yong ilong,” he said. “My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their mask properly in order to protect the public, kasi kung hindi ay hindi mo madepensahan ‘yong publiko, to arrest them and detain them.”

The President wants offenders to explain their behavior for not following the government-mandated health protocols.

“Pagkahindi ko ganunin, hindi ko kayo hihigpitan, walang mangyayaring… Iyan nga ‘yong for compliance lang kayo,” he said.

The chief executive reiterated the importance of wearing mask in public, citing the growing number of hospitalizations and deaths as a result of COVID-19 infection. Hospitals are also still grappling with huge number of patients, he added.

“Kaya kung talagang may utak ka, if you are a thinking human person, sundin mo. Kung nag-iisip ka, may isip ka pa, sundin mo ‘yong utos ng gobyerno kay hindi ‘yan akin. Hindi amin,” he said.

“Para ‘yan sa interes ng bayan na hindi ka makahawa, hindi ka mahawa, hindi ka mag-uwi, hindi mahawaan ang iba. Iyan ang ano. At saka ‘yong washing pati mask.”

The Philippines has recorded 1,073,555 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with 993,042 recoveries and 17,800 deaths. PND