Non-wearing of face mask equals reckless driving? Biazon takes LTO to task
MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon on Tuesday grilled the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on how it considered the non-wearing of face masks in both public and private vehicles as a case of reckless driving.
During the meeting of the House committee on transportation, Biazon pointed out that contemplation of the law insofar as reckless driving is concerned is different from the interpretation of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in implementing the policy on mask wearing in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Although may mention doon sa definition ng reckless driving ng safety, the reading is that it pertains to how you operate the vehicle. Kung paano mo imaneho, how you navigate the roads,” Biazon said.
(Although there is mention in the definition of reckless driving pertaining to safety, the reading is that it pertains to how you operate the vehicle, on how you drive and navigate the roads.)
“(The law) does not contemplate whether your passenger is wearing a mask or not,” he added.
LTO chief Edgar Galvante explained that it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the passengers are wearing face masks especially when there are rules in place.
“Unang-una, hindi dapat ninyo payagan [sumakay], assuming na ang pamantayan at patakaran na lahat dapat magsuot ng mask. Kung hindi sila magsusuot ng mask, hindi niyo dapat isakay,” Galvante said.
(Drivers should not allow passengers to ride if they don’t wear face masks assuming that there’s a rule in place that they should wear face masks. If they do not wear face masks, they should not be allowed to ride the vehicle.)
“Kung kayo bilang driver, nagsakay kayo ng di sumusunod, e reckless ang kumbaga interpretation dito. Reckless kayo na nilagay ninyo sa alanganin ang inyong pasahero kung mayrroong pamantayan na lahat ay naka-mask,” he added.
(So for the driver, if you allow a passenger who is not following the rules, that reckless. It’s recklessness because you put at risk the passengers when there’s a rule in place that they should wear face masks.)
But Biazon was not convinced by Galvante’s explanation, saying the law on reckless driving is not applicable to the government’s policy on wearing or non-wearing of face masks inside vehicles.
“It does not refer to pagsuot ng (wearing of) face mask. So how can somebody be penalized with a law that is not applicable to that?” the lawmaker added.
Biazon said that face masks are not a standard equipment in operating a vehicle, unlike helmets which are needed in driving motorcycles.
APEC Partylist Rep. Sergio Dagooc backed Biazon’s sentiments, saying that the penalty for non-wearing of face masks should not be equivalent to reckless driving.
“Maybe the LTO or the appropriate government agency will just focus on the penalty being imposed… ‘Yung penalty ang problema dito,” Dagooc said.
(Maybe the LTO or the appropriate government agency will just focus on the penalty being imposed… the penalty is the problem here.)
Nonetheless, Galvante said they are willing to submit should there be an order not to consider non-wearing of face masks in vehicles as reckless driving.
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