Individuals who were issued citation tickets for not wearing face masks are facing cases in court after failing to pay the fines prescribed under the Davao City Ordinance No. 0307-20 or the Face Mask Ordinance.
Davao City Police Office Director Police Colonel Alberto Lupaz in a virtual interview with Byaheng Do30 Wednesday said that there are 2,414 individuals issued with citation tickets and failed to pay fines at the City Treasurer’s Office. They are all first-offense violators.
According to Lupaz, they are among the 10,147 individuals issued citation tickets since the start of the implementation of the Face Mask Ordinance from the period January 1, 2022, to April 23, 2022. Of the 10,147, only 2,861 were able to pay the fines and penalties.
“We have already filed 2,414 cases through regular filing. Binibigyan natin sila ng (we give them) three to five days to pay. If they cannot pay within three to five days we will commence the filing of cases against them,” Lupaz said, adding, “the prescriptive period of the offense is two months so as much as possible they file the cases within 15 days to one month after the violator fails to pay within 5 days”.
Under the ordinance, the individual apprehended for not wearing a face mask is fined Php500 for the first offense; Php2,000 for a second offense; and, Php5,000 or one-month imprisonment for the third offense.
He said that while the implementation of the Face Mask Ordinance is generally smooth, the number of people who have yet to settle their citation ticket obligation is causing great concern and this has been relayed to the COVID-19 Task Force meeting on Monday, May 2, 2022.
“Ang problem na nasalubong namin is the filing of cases kasi as of now 7,286 ang hindi nakabayad. Napag-usapan na namin sa Monday Conference ng COVID-19 Task Force on how we can monitor and push people to pay their obligation in terms of this violation (The problem we are experiencing so far is the filing of cases because as of now a total of 7,286 have not paid their obligation. We already discussed during the COVID-19 Task Force last Monday how can we monitor and push people to pay their obligation in terms of this violation),” Lupaz said.
Those who have not paid their fines yet can go to the City Treasurers’ Office or their District Treasurer’s Office.
Lupaz added that people should be reminded that they can only remove their face masks when eating or drinking.
He said that even if the city is under Level 1, new COVID-19 cases and new infections are still recorded by the City Health Office (CHO). The wearing of face masks remains mandatory.
“Kaya nga ini-implement natin ito [Face Mask Ordinance] kasi ang ibang mga tao nag-re-relax na na sabi nila na pwede nang tanggalin ang face mask which is not correct. Sa lahat ng tinanggal na [minimum public health standards] ito lang face mask ang iniwan because it is very clear based on the presentation of [CHO Acting Head] Doctor Ashley Lopez that COVID-19 is still here (That is why we are implementing this Face Mask Ordinance because people tend to relax and say that they can already remove their face mask which is not correct. Of all the [minimum public health standards] only the wearing of face masks has not been lifted because it is very clear based on the presentation of [CHO Acting Head] Dr. Ashley Lopez that COVID-19 is still here],” Lupaz said. CIO