Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday warned that individuals caught not wearing face masks will be imprisoned for 10 to 30 days.
In a pre-SONA forum and press conference, Año said he had a meeting with local chief executives to discuss a uniform policy on penalizing violators of quarantine protocols.
“Magkakaroon na kami ng uniform implementation kung papaano ipapatupad ‘yung health standards… number of days in prison kapag nag-violate ka ng hindi pagsuot ng mask. We suggest 10 to 30 days, physical distancing also 10 to 30 days imprisonment,” Año said.
“Kung ikaw naman ay ipa-fine, it’s about P1,000 to P5,000. So ‘yan ‘yung magiging uniform implementation natin,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called on the police officers to nab and subsequently detain those who will not wear a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte underscored that such strict enforcement starts with local officials.
Earlier, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has asked the public to wait for the ordinances to be issued on the matter.
“The police can tell individuals to wear masks. They can ask the individuals to go home and get their masks and put it on. Pero sa ngayon po it is just to encourage people to wear masks,” he said in a televised briefing on Tuesday.
“Antayin po natin ang ordinansa dahil kinakailangan nating malaman kung ano ‘yung magiging parusa doon sa mga hindi magsusuot ng mask sa publiko, Roque added.
Authorities mandate the wearing of face masks and physical distancing as precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A recent survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London showed that 91% of Filipinos always wear masks whenever they go out.
Among the 29 countries the London-based data analysis group surveyed between June 22 and June 28, the Philippines is the second country with the highest percentage of citizens who always wear masks when they go out of their homes.
The country with the highest percentage is Singapore, with over 94 percent of its population always wearing a mask outdoors./Stacy Ang