Duterte orders police to detain, probe citizens not wearing face masks properly

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to arrest and investigate individuals who are not wearing face masks properly.

Duterte said that wearing a face mask is a “critical need” to control the number of COVID-19 infections in the country. He warned that violators could be detained for nine hours.

“My orders to the police are 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,” said Duterte on later Wednesday. “You have nine hours...Kapag hindi ko higpitan, walang mangyayari (If I will not be strict, nothing will happen).”

The President said the government faces dwindling funds as the number of cases pile up.

Eh kapag ganun at ako dito hirap na hirap, pawala na yung pera natin sa banko at sige pa rin kayo na galaw nang galaw nang hindi tama, mapupunta talaga kayo sa istasyon,” said Duterte.

[Translation: If that’s the case and I’m here worrying while our funds are running low, but you are still being careless, you will really end up in the police station.]

This is not the first time that he made such warning regarding violations of health protocols. Duterte earlier said that local chief executives will be held liable if violations of COVID-19 health protocols occur in their respective jurisdictions. 

During the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces last April, the Philippine National Police noted that the failure to wear face shields and face masks topped the list of the most violated health measures.

The country now has 1,073,555 coronavirus infections with the addition of 5,685 new cases on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 survivors in the country is nearing one million with 993,042 total recoveries.

Marami nang namamatay, marami pa sa ospital. Sabi ng mga experts, bumaba na daw yng mga infection, pero ang mga ospital ay puno pa rin. Kung nagi-isip ka, sundin mo yung utos ng gobyerno,” said Duterte.

[Translation: Many people are dying; many are still in the hospital. The experts said that the number of infections is declining, but the hospitals are still full. If you are thinking, follow the government orders.]