Cebu police told to enforce national mask mandate vs governor’s order
Cebu police must continue reminding people to wear face masks after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order last week saying it is optional.
“Remember, we are members of the national government. So whatever mandate or whichever command is given to us, especially by the SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government), we have to follow it. We have the national IATF (Inter-agency Task Force),” Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao said told a press briefing on Monday.
“Now, if the person doesn’t want to wear a face mask, it is a risk to take. So it’s up to you if you don’t want to use a face mask, but you have a risk to take. One, risk of apprehension. Two, risk of getting sickness. Simple as that. But in so far as the PNP is concerned, whether you’re from Cebu PPO (provincial police office) or whichever province you’re from, we should follow the instruction or the mandate, especially so coming from the commander-in-chief himself,'' added Danao.
Danao said police should not get tired of reminding the public to keep wearing their face masks.
“Give them maximum tolerance. If you can be the ones to provide face mask, why not (give them)?” Danao said.
Danao said while he respects the autonomy of the Cebu government, they have to follow the instructions from the national government, especially since the province is still under Alert Level 2.
“Now, if you think you cannot follow, you resign,” Danao warned the police.
Garcia on June 8 issued EO No. 16 that does not require people to wear masks in open, well-ventilated areas as long as they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
However, people are directed to keep their masks on in closed, air-conditioned places.
Two days later, Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano said in a statement that they do not recognize Garcia’s order and that the PNP will continue to apprehend or arrest individuals who violate the IATF’s guidelines or COVID-19 safety protocols.
The Cebu governor maintained Monday in an interview with ANC that she would implement the executive order and would not let the PNP arrest those who are not wearing masks.
“In the province of Cebu, the non-wearing of face mask is not against the law, or against any local ordinance. If the police would be apprehending these people, they might be accused of illegal arrest,” Garcia said. Jaspearl Tan/DMS