Gov’t seeking funds to buy face masks to be given free to the public — Duterte

Published July 22, 2020, 11:45 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

In a bid to protect people from the coronavirus threat, President Duterte is looking for funds for the acquisition of masks that will be given free to the public.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 21, 2020. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque affirmed the President’s resolve to distribute free masks especially to the poor after welcoming a survey showing the country ranked second in the highest number of people wearing face masks whenever they leave their houses.

“Mabuting balita po. Nagsabi rin po si Presidente na maghahanap siya ng pondo para bumili ng face mask na ipamimigay nang libre – sana po sa lahat (The good news is the President said he will look for funds to buy face masks to be given free hopefully to everyone),” he said during a televised press conference Tuesday.

“Pero kung hindi kakayaning bigyan ang lahat, sa marami pa pong mga Pilipino (But if we cannot give masks to everyone, maybe we can give to many Filipinos),” he added.

As the cases of coronavirus continues to surge, the President recently directed the police to intensify the arrest of people who break health rules on the wearing of face masks and observing social distancing.

The President, speaking during a taped meeting with some Cabinet officials aired on Tuesday, also announced plans to distribute masks to the public for free. He said wearing masks is crucial to help prevent the transmission of the disease. He said people could reuse the masks by washing and spraying them with alcohol.

“Ibigay namin sa inyo libre but wear it (I will give them away for free but wear it),” Duterte said.

‘Congratulations Philippines’

Roque has lauded Filipinos for their willingness to use masks when leaving their houses as shown in a recent global survey.

A survey by YouGov and Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London showed the Philippines ranked second with the highest number of citizens who wear masks whenever they go out. At least 91 percent of Filipinos always wear masks outdoors, according to the poll.

Singapore topped the survey of 29 nations on people wearing masks outside their homes.

“Dahil nagpapababa po ang pagsusuot ng mask doon sa tsansa na mahawa ng sakit, congratulations Philippines. Ipagpatuloy pa po natin ang pagsusuot ng mask. Samahan na rin po natin ng social distancing at paghuhugas ng kamay (Because wearing masks reduces the chances of infection, congratulations Philippines. Let us continue to wear masks. Let’s do it alongside social distancing and washing of hands),” Roque said.