President Duterte said there was no way that the wearing of facemasks will not be required until his last day in office, saying the Philippines was not yet “out of the woods” despite the low number of Covid-19 cases.
Duterte made the statement following reports of the resurgence of Covid-19 in different countries and the threat of the new Omicron XE variant that was first reported in Thailand.
Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio reported that there were signs of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Japan, particularly among young people.
In his “Talk to the People” on Holy Monday, April 11, the President said other countries probably had a resurgence of cases because the people became complacent and stopped following health protocols like wearing facemasks. Duterte said he will not lift this requirement.
“I’ll just state my case — There is no way that mask will not be required,” he said.
“It will be part of the protocol for a long time until the last day of my office. ‘Yan ang order ko at ‘yan ang sundin niyo (That’s my order and you should follow that),” he added.
He advised the public to continue wearing facemasks even if he is no longer the president.
“Yung mask will stay. There is no way that it will go away. Hanggang katapusan (Until the end of my term),” Duterte said.
“I would want you, miski wala na ako (even if I’m no longer president), to continue with the protocols kasi nakakatulong talaga ‘yan (it is helpful),” he added.
The President reiterated his call for the public to get vaccinated and continue following health protocols as the country cannot afford another surge of Covid-19 cases.
“We cannot, hardly, afford to meet another wave of the pandemic,” he said.
“I’d like to just remind the people na itong bakuna at itong protocols natin na maghugas ng kamay (that we have the vaccines and we have protocols like handwashing),” he added.