The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was asked by Sen. Grace Poe to reconsider their decision to require drivers and passengers to wear face masks inside private vehicles even if they are from the same household.
“I ask the IATF to rethink its policy requiring occupants of a vehicle to wear anti-virus masks even if they are from the same household,” Poe said.
She added, “this order is simply ludicrous and unrealistic.”
According to Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, as long as they are no strangers inside the vehicle, a private car could be considered as their "private bubble" where it is more an extension of a family’s house.
Clarence Guinto, acting director of the Land Transportation Office’s Law Enforcement Service, said not wearing face masks while driving with passengers could now be considered reckless driving.
Poe, however, said that people using public transportation and carpooling are strictly required to wear face masks, but not inside private vehicles carrying members of the same household.
She further said that when the Senate conducts a hearing on February 9, she will ask concerned government officials to explain the policy.
According to a joint statement from the Department of Health and Department of Transportation, only a driver traveling alone may remove his or her face mask while inside the vehicle.
The LTO said that motorists who will be caught for not following the new protocol will not be fined, instead, they will be reminded to follow the protocol that the driver and their passengers must wear face masks even inside a private vehicle regardless if the passengers are from the same household.