Cebu Governor Speaks on DILG’s Warning to Arrest Unmasked Persons
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia asserted that there is no legal basis to arrest persons who are not wearing face masks outdoors in the province.
It is more than two (2) years now since the pandemic started. In the Philippines, the people are mandated to wear face masks most especially in public areas as a move to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Amid the easing of the restrictions following the reduced number of cases in the past few months, the mandatory face mask policy in outdoor areas remains. Some local government units (LGUs) have their own consequences for those who will be caught not wearing face masks outdoors.
Recently, amid the easing of cases, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia released an executive order lifting the mandatory face mask policy in outdoor and well-ventilated areas in the province. She cited that other nations like Singapore did the same.
However, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) were quick to react to the move of the provincial government of Cebu.
The Health Department stressed that the provincial government should have consulted the IATF. As for Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, he does not recognize the E.O. of Garcia and he warned that individuals who will be caught not wearing a face mask may be arrested “if necessary”.
Based on a report on ABS-CBN News, amid the warning of the Interior Secretary, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia asserted that there is “no legal basis” to arrest unmasked individuals outdoors in the province. She stressed that she already released an order making the wearing of face masks outdoors optional.
In her E.O., Garcia stressed that the wearing of face masks is only mandatory in close and air-conditioned areas. Those who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are also mandated to wear a face mask even outdoors.