Face mask protocol still mandatory nationwide, Año says

The wearing of face masks remain mandatory except in specific instances like eating and during well-ventilated sports and similar activities as ordered by President Duterte, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año stressed Friday, June 10.


With the President’s directive, Año emphasized that the DILG does not recognize Executive Order No. 8 issued by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on June 8 that limits the use of face masks in indoor places in the province.

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to confront, apprehend and arrest, if necessary, all violators of IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) guidelines and MPHS (minimum public health standards) in the province of Cebu,’’ Año pointed out.

However, Año said that while wearing face masks is still compulsory, there are exemptions like those specifically allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EMID).

“Current IATF protocols allow only for specific instances when masks can be taken off, such as when eating or during certain well-ventilated sports and activities,’’ Año noted.

Further, Año called on the public to observe the wearing face masks regulations citing that the adherence to the minimum public health standard is the "key" to defeating the pandemic.

“Wearing of face masks, together with vaccination and boosters have helped keep our COVID-19 case counts low despite the detection of new sub-variants,’’ he added.

The DILG chief asserted that scientific evidence worldwide proved that the use of face masks reduces the transmission not only of Covid-19 but also other infectious and respiratory diseases including monkeypox.

“The department wishes to remind the public and all local government units (LGUs) that the Covid-19 virus is still present and the pandemic is not yet over. Individuals can still catch the virus, most especially our senior citizens and vulnerable population. We should therefore be vigilant, continue our adherence to all MPHS and get vaccinated or boosted immediately,’’ he stated.