By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Despite finding it difficult to speak, President Duterte wore a face mask throughout a meeting in Malacañang Wednesday, even urging Cabinet members to do the same as part of the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a meeting with members of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases aired Thursday past midnight, Duterte reminded Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to wear his face mask.
“Mag-mask ka kasi para tayong lone rangers dito (Wear your mask because we’re lone rangers here),” he said, referring to the Lone Ranger, a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West.
Duterte explained even he, himself, had to wear a face mask to show the public that he walks the talk.
“Hirap akong magsalita. Ang sikip kasi ng… Kasi lahat sila nakamaskara (It’s hard for me to speak because this is tight, and because all of them are wearing masks),” he said.
“Mahiya naman ako kasi ang order ko huwag kayong lumabas nang walang maskara. Tapos makikita ninyo lahat sila, ako lang ang hindi. (I should be ashamed if I don’t wear one because my orders is to wear a mask when going out. And then you’ll see everybody wearing a mask except me),” he added.
The IATF has adopted the policy requiring those in the enhanced community quarantine to wear face masks, handkerchiefs, or other protective equipment when going outside to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These include face masks; earloop masks; indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks; face shields; handkerchiefs; or such other protective equipment that can effectively lessen the transmission of disease.
“Kung kailangan po nating lumabas ng bahay, kailangan po mag mask (If we need to go out of our houses, we need to wear face masks),” Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said last week.
“Kahit improvised ito o panyo, basta po may pangtakip tayo ng bibig at ilong (Even if it is an improvised one, or even a handkerchief as long as you have something to cover your mouth and nose),” he added.
The IATF likewise enjoined concerned local government units to issue the necessary executive order or ordinance to that effect, and impose such penalties as may be appropriate.