The local government of Quezon City will exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with violators of the face mask ordinance.
Since the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in 2020, violators pay fines, according to Mayor Joy Belmonte in an interview on news channel ANC on Monday.
“In lieu of arrest and detention, we require them to pay fines. The minimum fine is P300 for a first offense, P500 for the second offense, and P1,000 for a third offense,” she said.
She said it is a difficult time for most people who lost their jobs so the city government tries to understand the violators by just issuing an ordinance violation receipt (OVR) for those who cannot pay the fines right away.
Unpaid OVR must still be paid though as violators cannot secure a police clearance.
With the latest pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest individuals who are not wearing or improperly wearing masks in public places, Belmonte said she met with the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
“I had a meeting with our QCPD Director, General (Antonio) Yarra, because I wanted us to align. I wanted to know how we would implement this, given that we have a local ordinance, and so we came to the agreement that we would still honor the local ordinance, that we would still practice maximum tolerance,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte said they will not detain violators to make sure physical distancing is followed as detention facilities, even in police stations, may not offer enough space.
Last year, violators were given masks and educated on the importance of using them.
“Arrest will only be made when there is resistance, defiance, violence or assault on a police officer. For those na hindi talaga nagsuot ng mask, wala talagang mask, tsaka sila fina-fine, and according to the rules pa rin of the city (who do not wear their masks, or do not have a mask, then we fine them, but still according to the rules of the city),” Belmonte said.
As of Friday, Belmonte said QC has recorded 3,625 violators of the face mask ordinance, with 348 arrested and 1,139 given warnings.