Cebu City defers easing face mask mandate


CEBU City in central Philippines has agreed to defer an order relaxing face mask rules, the Department of Interior and Local Government said on Thursday. 

Mayor Michael L. Rama agreed to suspend the order upon the request of Interior Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., who promised to promptly bring the matter to the National Government’s pandemic task force, Mr. Abalos said in a statement. 

Mr. Abalos said he would suggest to make Cebu City the pilot as far as doing away with the face mask mandate is concerned “since the city has always been first in espousing non-masking policies outdoors for the ease and benefit of its people amid the pandemic.” 

He appealed to all mayors “to do the same until I bring this matter to the Inter-Agency Task Force.” 

“I have already requested the IATF secretariat to immediately convene in order to thoroughly discuss this measure,” he said, adding that he would support the easing if health experts find nothing wrong with it. 

The Philippines is still in a national health emergency, with Mr. Marcos calling on Filipinos to be more “vigilant and proactive in following established health protocols,” Mr. Abalos said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza