The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Health (DOH) have released a statement to clarify the issue in regards to wearing face masks while inside the vehicle.
Both agencies said that it is mandatory to wear a face mask if the driver is traveling with passenger/s on board the vehicle, regardless if they are from the same household. On the other hand, the driver may opt not to wear a face mask if he/she is traveling alone.
Drivers and passengers are required to wear face masks while inside the vehicle
This protocol is in line with the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the DOTr, and the DOH. DOTr added that proper coordination shall be made with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and other government agencies such as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Moreover, the said guidelines on the wearing of face masks inside vehicles will be coordinated with the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (IACT), Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), other law enforcement agencies, and local government traffic offices/units.
The DOTr and the DOH will also relay the proper implementation of the said protocol as well as the appropriate fines and penalties in regards to the mandatory wearing of face masks inside vehicles.
A driver may opt not to wear a face mask if he/she is traveling alone
DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said that the DOTr and the DOH would discuss the fines and penalties for violators. As such, both agencies have yet to announce the necessary fines and penalties for individuals who do not abide by the said health protocol.
However, LTO’s Memorandum Circular 2020-2185 that was released last May 2020 stated that drivers and passengers of private vehicles should wear face masks at all times. This guideline is similar to what the DOTr and the DOH have released.
Fines waived for now
Under the circular, non-compliance with the mandatory wearing of face masks inside vehicles is considered reckless driving. It has a corresponding fine of Php 2,000 for the first offense, Php 3,000 for the second offense, and Php 10,000 for the subsequent offense.
Of note, LTO chief Ed Galvante said last week that there would be no apprehension and fines would not be imposed against individuals who do not wear face masks on board vehicles. The driver and passenger/s would instead be reminded about the mandatory wearing of face masks.
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