In the period that the nation was confronted by the whole “child car seat” brouhaha, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) also announced another regulation that we should likewise remember while on the road: to wear our face masks even while inside our cars.
As announced by LTO Law Enforcement Service Acting Director Clarence Guinto, two or more passengers of private vehicles must wear their face masks even if they are from the same household. If caught violating this rule, private motorists will be fined P2,000 for reckless driving, while public vehicles will be fined P5,000.
This isn’t a new rule, though. Last May 2020, LTO issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2185, which outlines the regulation that “all drivers and passengers of private and government vehicles must wear face masks at all times.” Some time after they disseminated this, Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran clarified that those driving alone inside their car need not comply with the regulation.
On Tuesday, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) co-chair Karlo Nograles echoed the same: “I think that is only logical; if there is no one in the vehicle with you, you cannot infect anyone else.”
For those in doubt over whether the rule is serious, one netizen narrated his experience of getting written a ticket and paying the fine for being caught without his mask on while driving through NLEX.
In cases of contention, the LTO assures the public that they may challenge the enforcer’s citations through their office.