Early Wednesday, journalist and COVID-19 survivor Howie Severino was “briefly detained” by Quezon City law enforcers for an alleged face mask violation.
In a Facebook post, the Kapuso broadcaster said he was out on a bicycle ride with his friends in Mother Ignacia, Quezon City when the city’s law enforcers apprehended him for allegedly “talking without my mask covering my mouth.”
But the veteran journo said that he had just pulled down his face mask to consume the drinks that he and his companions bought at a store.
“We bought drinks at the store next door, and then drank them after pulling down our masks below the mouth (because we have not learned to drink yet with masks on). We were all outdoors were the risk of infection is much lower than indoors and maintained at least four feet distance from each other,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Upon arrival at the stadium, he said he saw hundreds of people milling around and interacting with law enforcers. “A super spreader event if I ever saw one,” he said.
Severino said he is “kind of glad” that Quezon City is finally doing something, even if their actions are “a bit draconian” and “misguided.”
“I even offered to give a talk at the seminar. Instead, they returned my bike and told me I could go home,” he said.
He added that the local government’s approach may increase risk of infection by creating mass gatherings of people who were also apprehended.
“Why not instead give on the spot lectures with visual aids and distribute masks to those without one?” he asked.
At the end of his post, he mentioned that when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the QC government did not interview him for contact tracing. Severino said he had to contact trace on his own.
In another post, he shared photos of him and his friend, wearing face masks before they were apprehended by the enforcers.
On Twitter, netizens were appalled with how the local government approached Severino’s situation. Some even compared his situation to Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas’ “mañanita”.
Early April, Severino revealed his triumph against COVID-19. In an article on GMA News, where he called himself “Patient 2828”, he opened up on the harsh realities of battling the disease.