THE Cebu Provincial Government will turn over P3 million worth of face masks to all 50 police stations in the province for distribution to those caught not wearing one in public.
This will be done ahead of the governor’s planned issuance of a memorandum lifting the fines and other penalties imposed on persons found violating this minimum public health standard set by the Department of Health (DOH).
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the police are expected to give away these face masks to violators, with a reminder to wear these in public as prevention against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The face masks will be donated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“This is not about telling people not to wear masks,” Garcia said in a press conference Monday, April 19, 2021.
She said the imposition of fines or community service on violators leads to corruption.
“I’m not saying everyone is corrupt, but is this covered by a receipt? If the fine is P300 and the violator is asked to pay P500, is a corresponding receipt issued? Is there proper accounting for these fines? How would you know?... It leads to corruption. It’s oppression,” she said.
As of Monday, April 19, 2021, the Office of the Governor was still drafting the memorandum, which will be sent to 44 municipalities and six component cities, namely Bogo, Danao, Talisay, Naga, Carcar and Toledo.
The highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are not covered. These local government units (LGUs) have indicated that they will continue to enforce local ordinances penalizing those who don’t wear masks.
Garcia earlier instructed Police Col. Engelbert Soriano, officer-in-charge of the Cebu Police Provincial Office, to ensure that his men don’t mistreat violators.
She thanked Soriano for his support.
“In fact, I would like to personally thank PRO 7 General (Ronnie) Montejo and, of course, our new PD Col. Soriano for supporting my position that we should not require those who violate the mask policy to pay fines. They can be reminded, and now I am telling you that is really a good policy to distribute masks,” she said.