Eleazar to LGUs: Make wearing of face masks mandatory

Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar

THE commander of the Join Task Force COVID Shield yesterday called on all local government units to pass an ordinance that would mandate the wearing of face masks of their constituents every time they go out of their residences as part of their role to fight the spread of the deadly virus.

Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, also the Philippine National Police Deputy Chief for Operations said that such ordinance would empower local police forces to go after hard-headed people who continue to leave their homes unprotected from COVID-19 even they have no valid reason for their action.

Eleazar said that PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa fully supports the mandatory wearing of face masks and also expressed support for the enforcement by the local police  of the ordinance in the event they are passed by LGUs.

PNP agents across the country are fully enforcing ordinances such as the curfew hours and the ban on drinking and smoking in public as well as the motorcycle helmet law and most recently, the directive banning riding-in tandem in motorcycles as part of the government’s social distancing measure.

“We appeal to the LGUs to immediately pass an ordinance in their respective areas so that we will have the basis to arrest those people who go out without wearing face masks,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had said that the wearing of face masks will be mandatory for Luzon residents where the Enhanced Community Quarantine is strictly being implemented.

Sec. Nograles said the wearing of face masks is essential in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Despite the announcement, reports revealed that a lot of people in Luzon continue to go out in public places to buy food and other essential items without face masks,” said the Task Force COVID Shield commander.

“Humihingi din po kami ng kooperasyon sa mga barangay official, sa ating mga barangay tanod sa pagpapatupad nito,” he said.

Eleazar explained that once LGUs pass their respective ordinances on the mandatory wearing of face masks, police will not hesitate to arrest and penalize those who would violate it just like what they have been doing in the case of curfew violators.

Based on the latest JTF COVID Shield data, more than 93,000 curfew violators were accosted but 70 percent of them were only warned while the rest were either charged or fined, he said.