People caught not wearing face masks could be jailed for 10 up to 30 days, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Wednesday.
READ: ‘Arrest quarantine violators’
He said he had a meeting with local chief executives to discuss a uniform policy on penalizing violators of quarantine protocols.
“We will now have a uniform implementation of health standards and punishment for violators. We suggested 10 to 30 days,” Año told a forum and press conference.
“And if you are fined, it’s going to be P1,000 to P5,000.”
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said police were more tolerant of quarantine violators at the start of the lockdown, but with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order, law enforcers would have to be stricter against them.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, rejected allegations of unfair application of the rule of law by authorities in arresting violators of quarantine rules.
“It’s really a matter of perception because the number of those in the lower income levels that were being caught is greater, but it does not mean at all that there is an unfair application of the law,” Guevarra said in a virtual interview.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Duterte was probably only “joking” when he said people should soak their masks in gasoline to disinfect them after use.
“You know how it is when the President speaks. It was probably only a joke,” Vergeire said in an online forum.
Año made his statement after Duterte called on police officers to nab and detain those caught not wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, presidential spokesman Harry Roque asked the public to wait for the ordinance that would proclaim the punishment for those refusing to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Still, a recent survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London showed that 91 percent of Filipinos always wore masks whenever they went out.
Of the 29 countries the London-based data analysis group surveyed between June 22 and June 28, the Philippines was the second country with the highest percentage of citizens who always wore masks when they went out of their homes.
The country with the highest percentage was Singapore, with over 94 percent of its population always wearing a mask outdoors.
READ: Actor among 113 arrested at Makati bar for quarantine violations
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