Government Offices Divided on Optional Facemask Use

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is planning to make face mask use voluntary.

Press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, during a press conference, said that wearing a mask will be voluntary when going outdoors and optional for non-crowded or open outdoor spaces with good ventilation.

Department of Health (DOH) acting secretary Maria Rosario Vergiere said president Ferdinand Marcos Jr, has verbally approved the plan that involves the use of mandatory facemasks. The government will soon have a pilot study to determine if the health sector is ready to lift the facemask mandate with the increase in booster coverage of Covid vaccine.

However, the Philippine Octa Research Team mentioned that they would look into the numbers in the following days as the plan is being enforced. As of this writing, there is no data for August 2022.

Meanwhile, City Ordinance No. 45, Series of 2020, or the facemask mandate, is still being enforced.

“It depends on us what to follow because facemask is still mandatory under our ordinance. We have not yet amended it, so, it’s still enforced.” said Councilor Benny O. Bomogao when asked about the facemask mandate.

The same would be said for the Department of Interior and Local Government when asked about the optional facemask use proposed by the IATF. DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos has already told all local government units (LGUs) to be put on hold regarding optional facemasks.

The guideline of the IATF has yet to be released, and where and when the test plan will start has yet to be announced.

Last September 9, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has requested the city council to prepare an amendment to the city ordinance on the use of face masks in preparation for the approval of the President regarding the mandatory use of face masks in indoor settings.


James Ruiz



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