Earlier today, photographer Luis Liwanag captured how journalist Howie Severino was apprehended by Quezon City barangay officers and police after removing his face mask to get a sip of water.
Liwanag’s post said that Severino was brought to Amoranto Stadium, where hundreds of people, including senior citizens, were brought in for a short talk on the importance of face masks in public.
When the post circulated on social media, a lot of people were quick to point out that it was not that serious, since no one can really drink with a face mask on. Even Frankie Pangilinan, known for not holding back when calling out bad government and boomer practices, suggested that we try osmosis instead, so we can stay hydrated even with a face mask on.
Severino, who had contracted and recovered from COVID-19 months ago, cleared the air on what really happened in a Facebook post in order to get rid of the unnecessary bashing that the police and barangay officers were experiencing.
The post explains that he had been biking with a mask on for about an hour with other cyclists when they stopped at a bike shop on Mother Ignacia. He and his companions purchased drinks from the store next door and proceeded to drink them outside, where the risk of infection is lower. They had their masks below the mouth because, again, no one can drink with a mask on their face.
“I had just finished my drink and returned the bottle to the store 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. I explained to a group of QC employees there that as a recovered patient who had already tested negative three times for the coronavirus and positive for antibodies since my discharge from the hospital, the risk of me infecting anyone is near zero. Nevertheless, I still wear a mask,” the post continues.
Severino says that with Quezon City being an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the metro, he’s glad that it is strictly following health measures “even if it’s a bit draconian.” However, he did note that those in charge at the stadium did not do any sort of contact tracing despite the mass gathering inside.
He ends his statement by saying that he’s grateful that people who got in contact with him did not get infected and that he’s a lucky person who’s back doing the things he likes to do, which are early morning bike rides.
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