HINULI ng mga pulis ang Kapuso broadcast journalist na si Howie Severino matapos makitang nakababa ang suot na face mask habang umiinom.

Dinala ng mga operatiba ng Quezon City Police ang TV host-news anchor sa Amoranto Stadium para sumailalim sa seminar tungkol sa tamang paggamit ng face mask.

Ilang litrato ni Howie na kuha sa lugar ng insidente ang ipinost sa Facebook ng isang Luis Liwanag. Aniya sa caption, “Howie Severino, who momentarily pulled down his mask for a drink, was 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,” sabi pa ng FB user.

Nagkomento naman si Howie sa nasabing post, “Maraming tao sa stadium. I offered to give the talk on COVID, pinauwi na lang ako after I told them I had just finished drinking.”

Bukod dito, ibinahagi rin niya ang kumpletong nangyari sa kanyang Facebook, “To set some things straight, because those who briefly detained me during my bike ride have been getting bashed unnecessarily:

“I had been biking this morning with 2 bambike buddies, Chris Linag and Jilson Tiu, in QC 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,” simulang kuwento ng Kapuso broadcast journalist.

Dugtong niya, “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 two 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 for a seminar.

“They allowed me to bring my bike and we loaded it into the vehicle that brought me to the stadium where hundreds of people rounded up were already there.”

Patuloy pa ng COVID survivor, “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. However, I am kind of glad that as QC is an epicenter of the disease in the Philippines, they are finally doing something, even if it’s a bit draconian.

“I even offered to give a talk at the seminar. Instead, they returned my bike and told me I could go home. For the record, after I got sick and even wrote about it and did a documentary about my experience as a patient, the QC LGU did not interview me about my contacts or do any tracing, and did not test anyone in my family or any of my close contacts.

“I did contact tracing on my own. Aggressive contact tracing has been proven in other countries to be a key to success in this pandemic.

“I am assuming their intent in taking people to a mass gathering in a stadium is to control the spread of the infection and save lives.

“In conclusion, I have followed all other safety protocols including a long isolation and quarantine after my discharge from the hospital, until I was officially declared a recovered patient.

“I have donated plasma for gravely ill patients. I’m very grateful that no one I was in contact with got infected. I’m a lucky person who has gone back to doing things I like to do, including early morning bike rides,” pagtatapos ni Howie.