Gwen remains firm on face mask policy despite opposition from DILG

·3 min read

THOSE who are not wearing their face masks in open and well-ventilated spaces should not be apprehended.

This was the directive of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the police on Friday, June 10, 2022, to continue to “confront, apprehend, and arrest” all violators of minimum public health standards (MPHS) which includes the mandatory wearing of face mask in public places as set by the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) especially in the Province of Cebu.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has not recognized the executive order (EO) no. 16 issued by Governor Garcia a day earlier or on Thursday making the wearing of face masks in well-ventilated and open spaces in the province optional and no longer mandatory amid the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

However, the governor was determined to implement her order, saying that local chief executives have the right to make better decisions for their constituents.

The Cebu Provincial Board is set to pass a resolution on Monday, June 13, in support of the governor's EO.

In a press conference at the Capitol on Friday, Governor Garcia called on the police not to apprehend residents in the province who are not wearing face masks outside of their houses.

"I'm calling on the PNP (Philippine National Police) to make no such apprehensions. If you recall, there is operational control of the local government unit over the police," the governor said.

She suggested that those who are not observing the health safety protocols should instead be given free face mask and not be apprehended.

Garcia told reporters that her executive order is optional and does not force anybody to wear their face masks.

"We are not saying you cannot use face mask. It's optional. Those that would wish to breathe in pure oxygen, the more beneficial sea air, then please. Let's not bring the wearing of face masks to ridiculous levels," she said.

The governor said that her order was based only on the current situation wherein many people are seen not wearing their face masks anymore.

She cited the grand rallies during the campaign period for the May 9 elections wherein the DILG had not issued an order to apprehend those participants who were not observing the MPHS.

"...we are just formalizing what is actually already happening. People are taking off their masks," Garcia said.

"The public is sick and tired of this face mask, especially when it's already unreasonable to be wearing it in wide open ventilated areas. Why did you not insist? Why did the DILG not instruct the police to apprehend all those that attended rallies who are not wearing face mask or all those who stood by the roadsides in hundreds of thousands for the caravans not wearing face masks. And now you ask the PNP to apprehend those not wearing face mask because of my executive order, were they sleeping during the time of the campaign? And now they've suddenly awaken kay mana ang election?" she added.

Garcia earlier said that apprehending Cebuanos who are not wearing face masks is "anti-poor."

The wearing of face mask has been ordered by the Department of Health to avoid the spread of Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) virus.

In March 2021, the DILG issued a directive to arrest those who were not following the order. (with TPT)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting