President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night ordered the police officers to detain and investigate people who are not wearing face masks and those who are not wearing them properly in public.
In his weekly talk to the people, Duterte said face masks were "a critical need" to stop the upsurge of COVID-19 cases.
"My orders to the police, those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the public... to arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it," Duterte said.
"'Yung ayaw maniwala, gusto mo, ayaw mo usapan na maganda, ah di ayan hulihin mo. Imbestigahin mo. Nine hours stay in station," he added.
Duterte warned the public about the dangers of COVID-19 infection, adding that he himself was not an exemption.
"Just observe the protocol. Ako pinagtatanggol ko dahil baka hindi ako maintindihan. There is no way to guarantee that I will not be a victim of COVID," the 76-year-old leader said.
He said he removed his mask during the briefing because the mask might affect the audibility of his voice.
"At no other time in my life that I have to contend with the fact na a lot of my friends, which yung mga ka-edad ko namamatay na. And I do not exclude myself from that reality. E, matanda na rin ako e," Duterte said.
Over the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine in NCR Plus bubble, the Philippine National Police (PNP) discouraged the arrest and filing of cases against quarantine violators, calling it "counterproductive."
The PNP also ordered police to release the quarantine violators that are brought by local officials.
Previously, a quarantine violator in Cavite died of stroke after he was made to do 300 rounds of exercise as punishment.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) flagged the government for allegedly imposing heavy punishment on lockdown violators.
It said community service could be imposed as punishment instead of jail time or paying fines. —NB, GMA News