PNP clarifies: No mask apprehension for solo drivers applies only if windows are open
MANILA, Philippines — Solo drivers not wearing face masks would be apprehended only if they keep their vehicle windows open while traveling, the Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified on Wednesday.
PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac explained in a message to INQUIRER.net that the rule — apprehending drivers not wearing face masks even if they are alone — applies only to those who do not use their air conditioning system and are forced to open their windows.
“This refers only to jeeps, trucks, etc. with no AC (air conditioning) and windows are left open during travel,” Banac said.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield (JTF COVID Shield), also shared the same views with Banac.
“In my opinion, no need for a face mask if alone inside a 4-wheel vehicle,” Eleazar said in a separate message.
The PNP officials’ clarification came after people questioned why non-wearing of face masks inside vehicles constitute a violation, even if the drivers are alone. Earlier, Banac said in an interview with GMA-7’s Unang Hirit that drivers not wearing face masks would be ticketed as they are already outside their homes.
“Kapag kita po na talagang hindi gumagamit (face mask) considered po ‘yon na lumabas na siya ng kaniyang pamamahay. Sisitahin po ‘yon. Titiketan po ‘yon o aarestuhin,” Banac told GMA-7.
(If we see them not really using face masks inside their cars, that is already considered outside of their homes so they may be apprehended. They would be ticketed or arrested.)
On Twitter, several netizens expressed displeasure as barangay officials and Metropolitan Manila Development Authorities enforcers questioned them why they were not wearing any masks even if they were alone inside their cars.
Despite this clarification from PNP, Twitter user @demie_david shared that she apparently got flagged down by MMDA enforcers for not wearing a mask even if she was alone.
“Victim of that ‘no face mask inside car even if you’re alone’ violation. Why? @MMDA,” she asked on Wednesday morning.
Victim of that "no face mask inside car even if you're alone" violation. 🤦🏻♀️ADVERTISEMENT
— Demie David (@demie__david) July 22, 2020
In a reply by Wednesday night, MMDA urged the Twitter user to send an e-mail to [email protected] for her concern.
More stringent enforcement of quarantine regulations is expected after President Rodrigo Duterte said last Tuesday that he wants a stricter implementation of rules, even placing some inside jails for them to learn their lessons.
Banac, however, clarified that in case drivers are with passengers inside a car, all of them must wear face masks.
“Drivers and passengers must wear masks all the time,” he added. [ac]
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