The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and the City Public Order and Safety Division under the City Mayor’s Office to formulate the appropriate guidelines in apprehending individuals who are not properly wearing their face masks.
In a resolution, city legislators stated that in order for a better implementation of the mandatory wearing of face masks by all persons in the city until the threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is eliminated, the BCPO and POSD must formulate the appropriate guidelines in apprehending those persons who are not wearing face masks to prevent the lodging of unnecessary complaints against those enforcing the new normal regulations.
The council admitted there had been reports of people who momentarily remove their face masks to either drink water, or for other reasons, being apprehended for not wearing face masks where the same had been posed in social media that elected mixed reactions from the citizens.
According to the council, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, many medical experts have strongly advised people to wear face masks at all times to prevent the deadly virus in the different communities.
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Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong issued Executive Order (EO) No. 70, series of 2020, mandating residents in the city to use face masks and other similar protective covers when they are in public and when they live their houses.
The council, subsequently, passed Ordinance No. 45, series of 2020 or the Face Mask Ordinance of 2020 in the city where both measures were aimed to ensure the safety of all the residents against the rapid spread and transmission of the virus.
The council recognized the fact that the BCPO and the POSD are among the identified implementing agencies of the aforesaid ordinance where their enforcers are assigned to apprehend those persons committing any of the prohibited acts under the local law such as, among others, the non-wearing of face masks in public places.
The council asserted that the BCPO and the POSD should be guided by clear rules and regulations in the enforcement of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance to avoid complaints from the residents on the way the measures are being enforced where a massive information and education campaign will have to be undertaken prior to the strict enforcement of the same so that people will be able to internalize the real purpose of having to wear face masks in public.
The council urged the BCPO and the POSD to consult with stakeholders in the crafting of the guidelines so that all the issues and concerns will be effectively and efficiently addressed once the same will be strictly enforced and to prevent law enforcers from being placed in the bad light in the social media through the varied reactions from the citizens on the way the measure has been implemented in the city.
The 1987 Constitution ensured that the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. Further, the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.
By Dexter A. See
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