It's been nearly a year now since our lives were changed by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the course of the past ten months, every single one of us has had to make major changes with how we live our lives. Before this whole mess started, we could literally breathe easy every time we stepped out of our homes and onto public places. These days, face masks are an all too common sight.
Granted of course, studies have shown that wearing a face mask greatly reduces the risk of contamination. That being said, in the Philippines, it has been mandated and put into law, that face masks must be worn at all times when outside of your residence. Yes, that includes while driving your car (provided you're not alone in your car), and while riding your motorcycle. In fact, an erring motorist was recently met with the long arm of the law when he was caught driving without a face mask. His citation stated reckless driving as his violation. So, how is not wearing a face mask considered as reckless driving?
Folks in the Philippines, or those of you planning to head over there for work or vacation soon, better read up. According to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Memorandum Circular 2020-2185, the act of driving, or riding a motorcycle, while failing to comply with the minimum health and safety protocols is tantamount to reckless driving. Specifically, Article IV, Section 7, makes it clear that there are pretty hefty fines involved for those caught disregarding the sanitary protocols in place. In this case, the motorist was charged PHP2,077, or around $51 USD—that's pretty heavy for the average Filipino.
The memorandum pegs the fines for such violations at "no less than PHP2,000, but not more than PHP10,000." So, that means the gravity of your violation, as well as whether or not you've committed other infractions in the process, could greatly influence your total fine. There you have it guys, be sure to take extra precaution both in order to stay virus-free, as well as not be hassled by the penalties of disobeying these regulations.