Malacañang respects the decision of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to ease the mandatory face mask requirement against Covid-19 in his city.
In a Palace press briefing, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Rama, as the city’s mayor, has jurisdiction over his own city.
Cruz-Angeles said she will also wait for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to comment on Rama’s proclamation.
“We respect the mandate of local governments over their own jurisdictions. The President has no reaction to this as of yet,” she said.
She said the Department of Health (DOH) may also be releasing an announcement soon.
“If this is brought up, then we will make such an announcement. We are also waiting for the reaction of the DOH on this on, so without all of that information coming in, there will be no statement yet,” she added.
Rama on Wednesday signed an executive order (EO) making the wearing of face masks voluntary within the city, except in hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities.
Under the EO, immunocompromised persons and those who are sick or who have flu-like symptoms are still required to wear face masks outdoors but have to stay home if they can.
Rama cited the city’s high vaccination rate at 110 percent of its target as among the reasons for easing the face mask policy.
Earlier this year, the Cebu provincial government issued an order removing the mandatory face mask mandate in well-ventilated and open spaces.
However, the controversial policy received backlash from national task force officials.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia was warned against facing raps if she continued to defy the national government’s face mask mandate.
To date, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases resolution on the mandatory wearing of face masks has yet to be lifted.
The DOH has repeatedly encouraged the public to observe minimum public health standards such as wearing face masks, washing hands, keeping distance, and getting vaccinated and receiving booster shots. (PNA)