Garcia mulls removing monetary penalty for mask violators in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is planning to remove the monetary penalty for those found not wearing face masks in public places in the province.
On Thursday, April 15, Garcia said she will send out a memorandum to the mayors of Cebu regarding this development.
This she said in her meeting with the newly installed Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director, Colonel Engelbert Soriano.
“I am going to send a memorandum to all mayors, we will take away, as well, any monetary considerations as a penalty for not wearing masks. It’s bad. It’s hard enough for our people now to eke out a living (unya) pabayaron pa na nimo.”
“We are kinder to criminals than violators of this so-called mask-wearing thing. They can be told, wear your masks pero ayaw nang (maltreatment). Let’s deal with the real criminals,” said the governor in a video released by the Capitol’s Sugbo News.
Garcia said the monetary penalty for violating the wearing of mask protocol only burdens the working public more during an economically devastating pandemic.
The governor has been a strong advocate for economic revival and reopened the tourism industry in Cebu in order to alleviate the economic conditions of towns and cities.
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) warns that the lack of disciplinary measures may encourage people to slacken in their compliance to health protocols.
Doctor Mary Jean Loreche, the chief pathologist of DOH-7, told CDN Digital that people should still wear face masks even if there is less penalty involved for not doing so.
“There is that possibility that people will slacken on the compliance of wearing face masks. It’s the natural tendency of people to be complacent especially when there are no disciplinary measures.”
“But, we do hope that even without the penalties, the people will take that shared responsibility to have that mindset of protection against SarsCov2 and still continue on to embrace the minimum public health standards including wearing of face masks,” she said in a phone interview.
She encouraged people to wear masks with the understanding that it prevents transmission of the virus as opposed to wearing masks for fear of penalty.
The DOH-7 hopes by now, the public has learned through habit the wearing of masks when in public whether or not the authority is monitoring them.
Meanwhile, in her meeting with Soriano, Garcia instructed him to ensure a humane apprehension to violators of quarantine protocols especially the wearing of face masks.
This after a man died in Cavite last April 6, 2021, for being “required” to do push-ups after getting apprehended for quarantine violations.
The governor instructed the police to conduct courteous apprehensions to violators by reminding them to wear masks instead of detaining them for a period of time.
“Police personnel under your jurisdiction, manhandling or mistreating any person caught not wearing a mask..they can be reminded to wear a mask, admonished to wear the mask, but they should never be mistreated,” Garcia told Soriano.
For his part, Soriano assured the governor that no such thing will happen in Cebu. He added that the police will remain humane in their apprehension of violators. /rcg
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