DILG blinks, yields to Cebu policy vs mandatory use of face masks in public places

All’s well that ends well.

After several days of "word war" over the mandatory use of face masks, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año and Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia have already settled their differences on the enforcement of the policy.

With the issue settled, Año will no longer stop the provincial government from implementing the optional face mask rule in open spaces and well-ventilated areas according to Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgonia.

This was the first conversation of the two officials through a telephone call following the issuance of the controversial ordinance.

“Tinanggap na niya (Año) ang validity ng ating ordinansa, at wala na rin ‘yung mga show cause order at wala na rin ‘yung directive niya sa mga pulis na arestuhin ‘yung hindi mga nagsusuot ng facemask sa probinsya kahit nasa labas at malawak na lugar (He had already accepted the validity of our ordinance and there will no longer be show cause orders and the directive compelling the police to arrest those who do not wear face masks in the province even if they are outdoors or spacious locations),’’ Borgonia said.

Borgonia added that Año will no longer question the legality of Cebu’s ordinances, adding that the DILG chief did not share his reason for changing his position on the face mask policy controversy.

Garcia welcomed the decision of the DILG chief and even invited him to attend the oath taking ceremony of winning One Cebu poll candidates on June 28.

“As far as I know, walang hinihiling o ipinakiusap ang (did not ask for concessions or request) DILG secretary in return, requests or whatever na baguhin sa ordinansa (to change the ordinance),” Borgonia said.

The provincial government has already released implementing rules and regulations on the policy, wherein face mask use remains recommended outdoors and mandatory in enclosed and air-conditioned areas. (Chito A. Chavez)