IATF’s easing of face mask rule ‘delights’ Cebu City mayor

·2 min read

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama felt delighted about the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to recommend to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. the lifting of the mandatory wearing of face masks in open spaces across the country.

In an interview with reporters on Thursday, September 8, 2022, Rama said he is thankful to the national government for rationalizing the rule on wearing face masks amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The mayor said he is looking forward to the release of the President’s executive order on the issue.

“I am glad that the matter has been already discussed... I would wish that they would be able to put that up already in a full document,” he said.

Rama added that he will discuss with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia a “one island” approach to the face mask rule.

On Wednesday, September 7, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the IATF recommended liberalizing the country’s face mask policy in "open, non-crowded and well-ventilated areas."

Before that, Rama issued EO 5 on Aug. 31, declaring the use of masks within the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu City non-obligatory whether in open spaces or not, except in medical facilities upon the discretion of its administrator and for people experiencing flu-like symptoms who go outside their residences.

However, the recommendation of the IATF only allows the non-wearing of face masks in open spaces and does not include indoor or closed spaces like transportation terminals and public utility vehicles since these are crowded areas.

Rama said his EO will still be implemented in the city while waiting for an issuance from the President. The mayor further said the order to make the wearing of face masks non-obligatory in Cebu City is a product of a convergence that was participated by different stakeholders. (IRT)