President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he ordered the police to arrest "anyone" not wearing a face mask properly in public as the country seeks to tame a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Duterte said the police should arrest and detain anyone violating the face mask rule. The proper wearing of a face mask means the nose and mouth should be fully covered.
"My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their mask properly--in order to protect the public, kasi kung hindi, di mo madepensahan yung publiko--to arrest them, detain them. Investigate why they are doing it," he said in a public address.
The President added that police could detain violators of the face mask rule up to nine hours to investigate them over violation of the minimum health standard.
The Philippines started requiring the public to wear face masks just after it declared lockdowns in March 2020. Later that year, the government also made the wearing of face shields mandatory in all public places.