Mandaue cannot change face mask policy without amending ordinance

·2 min read

BEFORE the Mandaue City Government can change its face mask policy, it must amend the face mask ordinance.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, Mayor Jonas Cortes announced that he was open to adopting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s executive order making the wearing of face masks outdoors and in open spaces “non-obligatory.”

John Eddu Ibañez, the mayor’s executive secretary, said on Thursday, September 1, that Cortes had an informal talk with the City Council on Wednesday, right after his announcement regarding revising the City's face mask ordinance.

The existing ordinance requires the wearing of face masks in public with violators paying a penalty of P5,000 if caught.

Ibañez said the ordinance will be amended during a series of council sessions, adding that the council will deliberate and modify certain provisions and take into consideration the recommendations of the City Health Office, the Department of Health, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other involved agencies.

"Although Mayor (Cortes) is open to lifting the face mask requirement in public places, we still have to go through amending the ordinance," he said.

"We cannot just not implement the ordinance because it is valid and existing," he added.

However, the City Government reminded the public to still observe basic health protocols amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In Cebu City, Mayor Rama remained firm in implementing his EO despite DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos' announcement that the mayor agreed to temporarily hold his EO's implementation.

Rama said the EO would remain effective since it was already signed on Wednesday.

Abalos appealed to all local chief executives to put on hold possible actions regarding lifting the mandatory face mask policy.

He said he already asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases to convene and thoroughly discuss the measure.

He said the country is still in a national health emergency, emphasizing the importance of harmonizing existing laws and policies.

In Cebu Province, the wearing of face masks outdoors has been optional since June. (HIC)