DILG prepares to implement Duterte order to arrest mask violators

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2021 12:12 PM

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MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government will meet with the Philippine National Police and the local government units about the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte's order to arrest people who do not wear their anti-virus masks properly, Usec. Jonathan Malaya said Thursday.

The DILG will have to reconcile this new directive from the President with current local ordinances that outline guidelines on mask-wearing and subsequent penalties for violations, said Malaya.

Currently, arrests are only made "if there is resistance to authority" and violations of the Revised Penal Code, he said.

"But in light of the President’s pronouncements, we may need to do some recalibration and make the necessary preparations because if we do make arrests, we also need to prepare our detention cells because there may be a larger number of people detained than before," he told ANC's Headstart.

Pressed about the safety of such protocol during a pandemic where physical distancing is advised, Malaya said, "That’s why we need to make the necessary coordination with the Philippine National Police and with the local government units so that we can safely and efficiently implement the directive of the president and make the necessary guidelines so that this will not be abused by our police authority."

Malaya said it would be "premature" for him to make a comment on the wisdom of Duterte's directive, and the more prudent thing for the DILG to do is to sit down with the PNP and LGUs on the safe and efficient implementation of such orders.

Duterte's orders, given during an address late Wednesday evening, was in contrast to his justice secretary's suggestion last month to impose the penalty of community service to quarantine violators instead of jail time or fines.