Holding hands, kissing no longer allowed in public


PUBLIC displays of affection such as kissing, holding hands and embracing will no longer be allowed in public, even between a husband and wife, or among family members.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Debold Sinas on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, said he has instructed all police units to call out those engaged in such acts of physical intimacy in public places as these violate the physical distancing protocol.

Sinas said the PNP will intensify enforcement of physical distancing and other minimum public health standards to curb transmission of Sars-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Papaigtingin lang natin kasi nga part of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) at mga locals are already alarmed again kasi medyo tumaas. So PDA (public display of affection), ‘yung hawak-hawak sisitahin na rin ‘yan. Dati naman sinisita ‘yan pero ngayon kasi medyo nagluwag tayo but ipagpapatuloy natin ‘yan,” Sinas said in an interview in Camp Crame.

“We cannot afford to lower our guard against the virus, especially at this point when the cure is already within reach,” he added.

There is no cure for Covid-19 yet, but the Philippines has launched vaccinations against the infection using the over 1.1 million doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines donated by China and Covax, respectively.

Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, said policemen will merely caution violators. No one will be arrested.

Sinas reiterated his appeal for cooperation from the public.

“For our part in the PNP, we will remain vigilant in enforcing public health guidelines and local ordinances that seek to mitigate the effects of the pandemic that has so far infected 600,000 Filipinos, 12,000 of whom have died due to medical complications,” said Sinas.

He said he has also ordered the strengthening of patrols, especially in malls, crowded areas and public transportation units to ensure compliance to physical distancing, and wearing of masks and face shields.

Meanwhile, the Inter Agency Council for Traffic (I-Act) warned drivers and passengers of public utility vehicles against violating health safety protocols.

I-ACT special operations team leader Colonel Rosendo Borja said non-compliance to the directive to wear face shields is a common problem in public utility vehicles.

He urged drivers to constantly remind their passengers about these protocols. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)


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