Quezon City law enforcers apprehended veteran journalist and COVID-19 survivor Howie Severino for pulling down his mask to drink after biking.
On Facebook, Severino narrated what happened. He said he was biking together with photographer Jilson Tiu and Chris Linag when they stopped at a bike shop on Mother Ignacia Avenue. There they met with photojournalist Luis Liwanag and bought drinks from a store next door.
“We were all wearing masks. We bought drinks at the store next door, and drank them after pulling down our masks below the mouth (because we have not learned to drink yet with masks on),” he wrote.
Also read: Journalist Howie Severino survives COVID-19
Severino stressed out they were all wearing masks and were four feet away from each other.
“Before I could pull my mask back up, when at least three vehicles of QC law enforcers arrived to tell me I was talking without my mask covering my mouth and had to be brought to Amoranto Stadium for a seminar,” Howie Severino said.
Liwanag said the seminar was about the “proper use of face masks in public.” He said there were “about hundreds of persons including women and the elderly” who attended the seminar.
“I am assuming their intent in taking people to a mass gathering in a stadium is to control the spread of the infection and save lives,” Severino said.
Elmo San Diego of the Quezon City’s Department of Public Order and Safety meanwhile said Severino was able to justify and explain why he pulled his mask down, adding the journalist was immediately released.
“At the time of apprehension, naibaba na niya ‘yung tubig doon sa holder pero sabi kasi niya itataas ko na ‘yung aking maskara so tinanong siya, ‘binaba mo ba?’ sabi niya, ‘oho kasi ho umiinom akong tubig…’ That’s a valid reason naman na pakawalan siya. Apparently tama ‘yung sinabi niya, nirelease siya, di na siya kinasuhan…” San Diego told reporters.
In his post, the iWitness reported said, “I am kind of glad that as QC is an epicenter of the disease in the Philippines, they are finally doing something, even if it’s a bit draconian. I even offered to give a talk at the seminar. Instead they returned my bike and told me I could go home.”