MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are crafting guidelines for the latest order of President Rodrigo Duterte to detain those who are improperly wearing face masks in public, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.
In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the guidelines will include details on the booking and detention processes, as well as the investigation and the filing of charges against those who will be apprehended.
The DOJ chief, however, stressed that Duterte’s order takes effect immediately even if the guidelines are still being formulated.
“The President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines. Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited acts and impose the corresponding penalties therefore, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra said.
He also advised the public to wear face masks properly and to follow the law to avoid being detained.
“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” he said.
On Wednesday, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to impose a stricter mask mandate to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.