Howie Severino Apprehended for Not Wearing Face Mask While Drinking Water

So...we're not allowed to drink while outside our homes?

ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Wearing face masks, especially when out and about in public, is one of the safety guidelines that have been implemented nationwide in an affort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The coronavirus pathogen is believed to be carried through respiratory droplets, and masks are supposed to stop the disease from spreading. Quezon City, in fact, implemented the mandatory wearing of face masks during the enhanced community quarantine, and later general community quarantine. And on the morning of July 8, barangay and police officers in the city apprehended journalist Howie Severino for allegedly pulling down his mask to take a sip of water while biking.

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This incident was reported by photojournalist Luis Liwanag while he and a couple of bikers were cycling around the city on their bamboo-made bicycles. Severino has always been a huge advocate of bike-riding and bike-friendly infrastructure in the Metro.

Severino and his friends were biking around in Quezon City on their Bambikes.
PHOTO BY Jilson Tiu
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When the group stopped for some rest, Severino pulled down his mask to wipe his face and have a drink.
PHOTO Courtesy of Jilson Tiu
Barangay officers in Quezon City apprehended him.
PHOTO BY Jilson Tiu
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"Howie Severino, who momentarily pulled down his mask for a drink, is apprehended by barangay officers and police and was brought to the Amoranto Stadium for a short seminar on proper use of face masks in public. About hundreds of persons including women and the elderly were brought in," Liwanag said in a Facebook post at 9:29 a.m.

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Severino in April tested positive for COVID-19, an ordeal he narrated in a video documentary made with the help of a nurse through a phone camera. Ako si Patient 2828, an episode in the long-running documentary series I-Witness, was aired on GMA on April 18.

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UPDATE (3 p.m.): In a Facebook post at 12:43 p.m., Severino explained: "I had been biking early this morning with [two] Bambike buddies, Chris Linag and Jilson Tiu, in [Quezon City] for about an hour when we stopped at a bike shop on Mother Ignacia where we ran into Luis Liwanag, famed photojournalist and fellow cyclist, who took the photos of the incident. We were all wearing masks. We bought drinks at the store next door, and 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 where the risk of infection is much lower than indoors and maintained at least four feet distance from each other. 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.

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