Mandaue City’s face mask ban slammed, defended

By: Benjie Talisic, Jessa Mae O. Sotto, Nestle L. Semilla, Norman Mendoza March 04,2018 - 10:42 PM

Motorcycle riders and tricycle drivers will have to brave the dust in Mandaue City’s streets when the city will implement the face mask ban ordinance.
CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON

As motorcycle riders affected by the face mask and bonnets ban in Mandaue City show their displeasure on the implementation of the measure in social media, the Mandaue City government is also calling for understanding on its implementation.

Lawyer Elaine Bathan, executive secretary to the Mandaue City Mayor, said that the wisdom behind the ordinance is the fact that much of the criminality are being done through motorcycles.

Be it unlawful acts of killing or transporting illegal drugs or contraband, Bathan said.

“We cannot deny that seemingly it has become too convenient for these criminals. The passage of the ordinance is intended to curtail its commission and the possibility of being able to solve these crimes by being able to identify the perpetrator or even discourage them from doing such acts right from the start,” Bathan said.

Appeal for cooperation

Bathan admitted that this ordinance is currently scrutinized by the public but the LGU is urging the motorcycle owners for their indulgence, cooperation and understanding.

“Sacrifices must be made and the city cannot overemphasize the importance of putting the safety and security of everyone above anything else,” Bathan added.

Netizen’s complaint

However, Rey H. Reynes, one of these netizens who protested on the implementation of the face mask ban, said that banning the wearing of bonnets, face masks, ski masks for motorcycle riders, could not solve the crime involving motorcycle-riding criminals in Mandaue City.

“Dili ni maayo. They (the local government units) can put up checkpoints anywhere if they will want to, but dili angay i-remove ang mga protective (gears) sa among mga lawas (That is not proper. The local government units can put up checkpoints anywhere if they will want to but it is not right to remove our protective (gear),” Reynes said.

Reynes, who works as an assistant supervisor of a manufacturing company, said that he would ride his motorcycle to go to work in Mandaue City from Cebu City where he resides.

Last year the Mandaue City Council approved the ordinance prohibiting the wearing or use of bonnet, ski mask, headdress, or any garment that will conceal the identities of the motorcycle drivers and their backriders.

But it is only this year that the ordinance will be implemented by the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM).

Reynes said that if the LGU and the police could not arrest criminals riding in motorcycles then they should let the general public suffer for their failure.

“Tinapulan naman nang ilaha nga i-ban tanan aron dali makita sa camera nila ang mga criminal na gamotor. Looy kaayo intawon ming gamotor aside nga init kaayo, abog pa g’yud sa kadalanan (This is a lazy way to catch criminals – Ban all things to hide the face of a motorcycle rider so that they can easily catch criminals caught in their cameras. Pity us, who are using motorcycles, who have to endure the heat and the dust in the roads),” he said.

Rider’s group’s stand

Supermoto Cebu, a group of motorcycle-riders in Cebu, also slammed the implementation of the ordinance saying it is not the right solution to address these criminal acts.

“It’s an ignorant, flaccid, ingenuine ‘solution that sweeps riders’ health under the rug,” Supermoto Cebu said in a statement sent to Cebu Daily News on Sunday.

Health vs. security

Aside from the motorcycle riders, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is also encouraging the Mandaue City government to balance the security aspect and the health aspect of motorcycle riders in implementing the face mask ban.

Director Jaime Bernadas of DOH-7 said that ace masks can also protect drivers or commuters from getting respiratory illness acquired from smoke and dust.

“Any forms of virus and microorganisms, including chemicals, smoke from dust and exhaust,” Bernadas said in a text message.

If inhaled, Bernadas said it would lead to infectious acute, allergic or chronic bronchitis.

“Ma inhale ni siya through nasal passages, to the bronchus, (and) to the lungs,” he added.

TEAM’S position

But Glenn Antigua, Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) head, said that while face mask or ski mask could be use as protective gear that could prevent respiratory disease to the riders, this could also be used as coverings by suspected killers who use motorcycles in committing crimes.

“(Face) mask is always for respiratory protection. It should be balanced when security is also an issue,” Bernadas said.

However, he said helmets with air filters, but with a transparent covering, can also serve as protection.

“This all lies in the best judgment of our legislators and local chief executives,” he said.

Info drive first

Antigua said they had not yet apprehended motorcycle drivers and passengers caught violating the local ordinance.

“We are on the process of informing the public. Dili sa ta moderetso og dakop. Mopahibaw sa ta sa katawhan (We are still on the process of informing the public. We will not apprehend violators right away. We have to first inform the public about the implementation of the ordinance),” he said.

He, however, did not specify when they would start the implementation.

The local ordinance prohibits the driver and backrider of motorcycle to wear bonnet, ski-mask, headdress or any coverings that hide the identity within the jurisdiction of Mandaue City.

When sought for comment, Director Victor Caindec of the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO-7) said he had yet to study the local ordinance before he could issue a statement.

Welcome move

Meanwhile, Mandaue City Police Director, Senior Supt. Robert Alanas, welcomed the implementation of the face mask ban ordinance.

Alanas said in a phone interview with Cebu Daily News that this ordinance would be a big help to their efforts to deter crimes and to easily identify motorcycle-riding criminals.

He cited a situation where a motorcycle-riding criminal who had committed a crime in another city and had to pass Mandaue City to escape, and because of the ordinance, he had to remove his bonnet or face mask to pass through the city and this would make it easier for us to identify especially when he would be caught by security cameras in the city.

When sought for comment, Chief Supt. Robert Quenery, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) chief, said the had yet to read the ordinance before he would issue a statement.

But Supt. Reynan Tolentin, PRO-7 information officer, said this would be a big help to the police because a motorcycle-riding criminal can be easily identified.

“We could not discount the possibility that this could be a discomfort to the motorist especially with regard to dusts on the streets, but we are hoping they would also understand why this is being implemented,” said Tolentin.

“Maybe the motorist can use transparent helmets just to cover the driver’s face to avoid the dust,”Tolentin added.

CTMS reaction

Meanwhile, Mario Napule, Lapu-Lapu’s City Traffic Management System Office (CTMS) chief, said they see no reason to make a similar ordinance to prohibit motorcycle riders to wear face masks or tinted visors.

Napule said that they only required motor bikers to wear helmets and shoes.

They also inspect motorcycle riders and other vehicles with regard to their head lights, signal lights, tail lights, side mirrors and other needed parts of vehicles and issue citation tickets to violators.

He said although there would be times that they would need to identify erring motorcycle riders, but then they would just ask the assistance of the police.

“Kanang problema sa motor-riding criminals, bahala na ang pulis nga maoy motrabaho ana kon unsaon nila pagsulbad ana (It is the job of the police to catch motorcycle-riding criminals and they know how they are going to catch them),” said Napule.

He, however, said that Mandaue’s implementation of face mask ban is their way of deterring motorcycle-riding criminals and so that’s their way too to address the problem.

For motorcycle riders from Lapu-Lapu City and who had to go to Mandaue City, Napule advised them to comply and follow Mandaue City’s ordinance to avoid being apprehended.

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