2.1K face mask violators caught from March 1-31; Dabawenyos reminded to wear face masks at all times in public

The Response Cluster of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force reminds Dabawenyos to adhere to Davao City Ordinance No. 0307-20, which prescribes the mandatory wearing of face masks after 2,168 individuals were apprehended from March 1 to 31, 2021 for violating the health protocol.

Response Cluster Head Alfredo Baloran, in an interview with the City Information Office (CIO) on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, said they continue to issue citation tickets to face mask violators since the ordinance was issued on July 7, 2020.

“Continuous naman gud ni sya because naa ta’y city ordinance nga mandatory wearing of face maks. Ang uban aning nadakpan naa sa social gatherings, ang uban sa public places makita. Ang uban ani ang CTTMO makadakop, usually sa public utility vehicles (The enforcement is continuous because of our city ordinance on the mandatory wearing of face masks. Some were caught in social gatherings while others were apprehended in public places. The others caught by the City Transport and Traffic Management Office were inside public utility vehicles),” he said.

Of the 2,168 non-wearing of face mask violations, the fifth week recorded the lowest number of apprehensions with 206. From 429 apprehended face mask violators in the first week, the number climbed to 579 in the second week then dropped to 543 and 411 in the third and fourth weeks, respectively.

Baloran said that since Davao City’s Alert Level 1 status has been extended, the minimum public health standards (MPHS) must be strictly enforced and observed at all times.

However, only the mandatory face mask-wearing and frequent handwashing were retained by the City Government of Davao via Executive Order (EO) No. 11, Series of 2022. The EO lifted social distancing amid the reopening of the economy as establishments and offices in the city also went into full capacity and fully operational status.

He also said that the mandatory wearing of face masks, according to the city ordinance, applies whether in public or private gatherings. The only exemption is when eating or drinking.

Baloran, who also heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), added: “Ang ordinance wala man nagsulti whether public or private gatherings, ang mandatory wearing of face masks maski asa man na. Kung magkaon pwede tanggalon o mag inom og tubig, after ana ibalik ang face mask. Kung wala pa magkaon, mag face mask usa. Usa pa tanggalon ang face mask kung magkaon na sila (The ordinance does not specify whether it is public or private gatherings, the mandatory wearing of face mask applies wherever you are. If you eat or drink, take off the mask but wear it back right after doing so. If you are not yet eating, wear the face mask. Just remove it once you start eating).”

The ordinance stipulates that any person caught not wearing a face mask in public places shall be penalized with a fine of P500 for the first offense; P2,000 for a second offense; and P5,000 or one-month imprisonment for the third offense.

He hopes that with or without the enforcers, Dabawenyos will comply with the face mask-wearing and frequent handwashing protocols to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

“Dili ta maging complacent kumo naga-decrease na ang cases nato diri sa Davao but kailangan gyud nato i-maintain ang MPHS – wearing of face mask ug mag-sanitize ta always. Iwasan gihapon nato ang heavy crowds, mga tapok-tapok (We should not be complacent even if our COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Davao City, and we need to maintain the MPHS – wearing of face masks and sanitize always),” he said.

With the surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries and a slight increase of active cases in the National Capital Region (NCR), Baloran said all the more that Dabawenyos should be vigilant in wearing face masks at all times, whether in public or private gatherings.