President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered police officers to detain and investigate people not wearing face masks and those not wearing them properly in public for up to nine hours in police stations.
In his second televised address to the nation in three nights, Duterte said face masks were "a critical need" to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases.
"My orders to the police, those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the public... to arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it," the President said.
"Yung ayaw maniwala, gusto mo, ayaw mo usapan na maganda, ah di ayan hulihin mo. Imbestigahin mo. Nine hours stay in station," he added.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) previously discouraged the arrest and filing of cases against quarantine violators over the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine in the NCR Plus bubble, calling it "counterproductive."
The PNP also ordered policemen to release quarantine violators brought by local officials to them.
Earlier, a quarantine violator in Cavite died of a stroke after he was made to do 300 rounds of an exercise as punishment.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) flagged the government for allegedly imposing heavy punishment on lockdown violators.
It said community service could be imposed as punishment instead of jail time or paying fines.
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