Health protocol violators to be issued warning first - DILG

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) - The Department of the Interior and Local Government said health protocol violators, especially those not wearing face masks properly, will be given a warning first and will not be immediately arrested.

"So there's still warning and reminder to wear the mask. If the person defies instruction, then he will be arrested," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told CNN Philippines' News Night.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the police to arrest and investigate individuals who are not wearing face masks properly. He noted that wearing of face masks is a "critical need" and warned violators could be detained for nine hours.

Año said he already told Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield commander Police Lt. Gen. Joselito Vera Cruz and Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to immediately implement the President's order.

The DILG chief has also already coordinated with the PNP regarding the available space for arrested violators.

"We already discussed this with the PNP, they can convert some areas to be holding and detention areas to avoid congestion and crowding in the detention cells," Año said.

Año also assured the public there will be no abuse of power by the police.

"Kasama din 'yan sa diniscuss ko (It was one of the matters I discussed) with COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Vera Cruz. I don't want any abuses on the part of the Philippine National Police doing the arrest or probably using this instruction to pursue their personal interest. We will make sure na di maabuso (it will not be abused)," he said.