Maximum tolerance: QC to impose fines, warn mask rule violators

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2021 09:48 AM | Updated as of May 10 2021 10:13 AM

People line up for a community pantry along Mapagmahal Street in Quezon City on May 6, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Quezon City will enforce "maximum tolerance" in implementing its local ordinance against people who fail to wear masks in public, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Monday.

Violators will be warned or be made to pay fines instead of being arrested, Belmonte told ANC.

"During this order of the President, I had a meeting with our QCPD (Quezon City Police District) director because I wanted us to align. We came to the agreement that we would still honor the local ordinance that we would still practice maximum tolerance," she said.

"So, in fact we do a lot of warning prior to even fining. These are especially for children, for minors, for senior citizens, and for those who just accidentally put down their masks."

Belmonte said arrests would only be made when there's "resistance, defiance, violence or assault on a police officer."

"We did not want to arrest them and detain them because of the fact we want to enforce social distancing. Given the sizes of our detention facilities in our police station, even in our barangays, we didn't have enough space for that," she said.

"Also, we didn't see that as necessary because at that early stage of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in 2020, we thought it is best to distribute masks, teach them [and] educate them."

So far, Quezon City has recorded over 3,600 violators of its ordinance, of which more than 2,000 were asked to pay fines, 1,000 were warned and over 300 were arrested.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed police to arrest people who do not wear their face masks properly.

“My orders to the police are, those who are not working their masks properly, in order to protect the public . . . arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it,” he said in a taped speech.

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