(July 08, 2020) – Veteran journalist Howie Severino was apprehended by barangay and police officers on Wednesday after pulling down his face mask to drink while in the middle of a bike ride.
Severino, a COVID-19 survivor himself, was brought to the Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City, along with “hundreds of persons including women and the elderly” for a seminar on the proper use of face masks, according to photojournalist Luis Liwanag who took photos of the incident.
Police and barangay officials who apprehended Severino were not available for comment as of posting time. But in a Facebook post, Severino said he just bought drinks at a store with two friends along Mother Ignacia Avenue when the law enforcers approached them.
“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,” he said.
Despite the incident, Severino said he was “glad that as QC is an epicenter of the disease in the Philippines” is finally doing something to address the issue “even if it’s a bit draconian.” He was later allowed to go home.
Netizens condemned Severino’s apprehension.
“Howie was DRINKING. Was he supposed to train a spray hose on his face? How can you allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in and then arrest someone pulling down a mask to drink? Arbitrary, MINDLESS enforcement of rules in the new normal. Ayusin mo mga tao mo, Joy Belmonte,” tweeted journalist Inday Espina-Varona.
“Howie Severino, a COVID-19 survivor who knows the gravity of the pandemic more than most, is apprehended by the police for taking off his mask while drinking? It seems that nobody is safe from idiocy,” physician and columnist Gideon Lasco said.
Severino tested positive for the coronavirus in April as Patient 2828 and documented his experience until he eventually recovered. (Katrina Elaine Alba/ AGD)
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