Some 22,200 individuals in Tagbilaran City and the towns have been caught breaking health protocols by not wearing facemask or its improper usage from March 2020 to July 13, 2021, data from the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) showed.
Patrolwoman Rhea Estorco of the BPPO COVID-19 monitoring team said they have been accosting at least 50 persons each day since March last year for not wearing facemask.
“Sa usa ka adlaw na mo abot tag 120, naay usahay 90 pero dili jud na siya mo ubos og 50,” said Estorco.
Health authorities including Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) spokesperson Dr. Yul Lopez who is also the provincial health officer has repeatedly tagged the flouting of basic health safety protocols such as the wearing of facemask and social distancing as among the culprits behind the continued surge of new COVID-19 cases in the province.
From early June to July 21, the number active number of COVID-19 cases in the province has mostly been beyond the 1,000 mark.
Lead by example
The mandatory wearing of facemasks in public areas was first ordered through Executive Order No. 15 Series of 2020 which was signed by Governor Arthur Yap, who himself has also been seen in public without health safety gear.
Based on photos obtained by the Chronicle, Yap amid the pandemic has been delivering speeches to crowds which include senior citizens and children during his visitation of barangays across the province supposedly to deliver financial aid.
A photo posted on July 10, 2021 by the Chronicle which showed Yap without a facemask and shaking the hand of an elderly person drew heavy flak from the public with many lamenting that ordinary citizens would have been immediately accosted by authorities for doing the same.
“Naunsa man ka Gov.? Sige ka remind sa mga nga observe strict health protocol pero ikaw wala. Ikaw ra man diay superspreader unya mga boholano imo basulon,” Felix Platino said.
“Kung ordinaryong mga tawo dakpon pero si yap OK lang sige libot libot preparasyon sa election, way klaro,” Leo Castro said.
“Follow the leaders. If rhe leaders are spreaders then the followers would do the same. How can we stop the virus if there are exceptions,” Cres Tita added.
When is it a violation?
According to Estorco, going out of the house without a facemask is already considered a violation.
“Mao man gud na atong protocol, once mo gawas sa imong balay magsuot na g’yud ka og facemask, naa puy uban magsuot og facemask pero imporoper pagkasuot para compliance lang, gitaud lang sa nawang pero wa natabon sa nawng,” she said.
Estorco however noted that no person has been charged in court due to failure to wear facemask.
Violators were usually taken to the police station for proper disposition and fined a sum of amounts ranging from P200 to P500, depending on the local government unit’s ordinance.
Others were required to undergo community service.