EOC: Penalties for no face mask remains
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Cebu City recommends to continue imposing penalties to individuals caught not wearing face masks in public.
Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the city’s EOC, told reporters in a message that the city ordinance penalizing violators of health protocols, such as failure to wear face masks in public places, has been effective in enforcing minimum health standards.
“So far, imposing penalties and fines for failure to wear face mask has been an effective deterrent against protocol violations as far as Cebu City is concerned,” said Garganera.
“And it’s not just fines, they can opt to do community service and they’re actually required to attend a mandatory seminar on health protocols. So I think we, in the EOC, would like to stick with status quo,” he added.
Cebu City currently imposes a fine of P500 as first offense for violators of existing health protocols which included the proper wearing of face masks in public areas.
Individuals apprehended also have the option to do community service of at least four hours instead.
Garganera, who is also the deputy chief implementer of Cebu City’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID), made the statements days after the Capitol announced that it is mulling to do away with penalties for failure to wear face masks.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced this last April 15, 2021, during her meeting the newly installed Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) director.
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 nature of penalties for violating health protocols in Cebu province vary among localities, ranging from community service to imposing fees of up to P500.
But the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) expressed concerns that the public would be lenient in following minimum health standards in the absence of disciplinary actions.
Cebu City recently experienced a downward trend in its number of COVID-19 cases, and has remained under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of community quarantine, until April 30, 2021.
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