Face mask ban

By: Editorial March 06,2018 - 11:40 PM

Motorcycle riders and passengers passing through Mandaue City can thank or blame the motorcycle-riding assailants — those colloquially called as “riding in tandem” — for the Mandaue City government’s decision to ban the use of ski masks or bonnets.

The decision stemmed from the all too frequent incidence of drive-by shootings committed by assailants wearing ski masks on top of full face helmets which make it impossible for the police to identify them even with security camera footage.

The daylight ambush of Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab near the Cebu City Hall of Justice at the Qimonda building in the North Reclamation Area and the death of a Korean businessman at the hands of motorcycle-riding assailants at A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue City prompted Mandaue City Hall to decide on the ski mask ban starting last week.

And unlike the plastics garbage ban which met with initial resistance but was later accepted, the ski mask ban will likely invite more complaints and opposition from motorcycle/tricycle drivers and their passengers.

The main complaint stems from health concerns.

A motorcycle-riding messenger named Gerry Montero, a resident of Barangay Opao in Mandaue City, said he wears a face mask or ski mask to protect himself from the dust and smoke of vehicles.

“If the city government prohibits us from using it, then we’ll get sick easily,” Montero told Cebu Daily News.

Being out on the streets all day and being exposed to the pollution as well as the elements, Montero may have to buy a helmet with a transparent face protector to shield himself from the dust and smoke.

Yes, there are ways to protect oneself from the dust and pollution without having to sacrifice compliance with the face mask ban.

These helmets may not be cheap but if they can afford to acquire a motorcycle, surely they can buy it for their use.

And if they have nothing to hide, then motorcycle riders can understand the rationale behind the face mask ban. But requiring transparency and easy identification from motorists doesn’t end with banning face masks.

Mandaue City’s traffic enforcement office should also require car owners not to use tinted windows in compliance with both local and national laws.

That sadly has yet to be followed by car owners who continually prefer to hide behind the veil of anonymity provided by these tinted windows.

Aside from health concerns, the reason given for refusing to comply with these measures — that criminals will always find a way to commit crimes even with these restrictions in place — doesn’t eliminate the need for transparency among private motorists, particularly the motorcycle-for-hire (habal-habal) drivers whose ranks have produced some unscrupulous and downright dangerous men.

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TAGS: ban, Editorial, face, mask

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