Lapu mayor welcomes IATF’s new face mask policy

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to lift the mandatory wearing of face masks in open spaces across the country.

“Well, maayo na. It’s a good development ang face mask pwede na dili na isul-ob og mga outdoor,” Chan told reporters Thursday, September 8, 2022.

Chan reiterated that some people have trouble breathing outdoors with a mask on due to the heat.

“So, at least dili na kaayo mahasol ang atong mga kaigsuonan labi na kon outdoor. Sometimes init, uncomfortable kaayo ta,” he said.

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."

Prior to that, Cebu City Michael Rama issued EO 5 on August 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.

The recommendation of the IATF, however, 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. He 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.

Chan on August 31 told SunStar Cebu that he would adopt the executive order of Rama once he secures a copy of it.

But on September 2, he said he did not have time to convene his health team to discuss the matter due to the ongoing evaluation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) for fiscal year 2022.

Chan stressed on September 8 that everything seems to be going back to normal, adding that the Covid-19 cases in the city remain low.

Central Visayas has about 1,068 active coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, 43 of whom were newly reported cases as of Thursday, September 8, data from the Covid-19 Tracker of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) showed.

Of the Covid-19 active cases, Cebu City had the highest with 418 cases, 17 of whom were newly reported cases while Lapu-Lapu City had 52 active cases with three newly cases.

Mandaue City also had 95 Covid-19 cases as of September 8 with one newly reported case. (MKG)