Benhur Abalos Asks Cebu City Mayor To Defer Implementation Of Lifting Face Mask Policy

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos: “Ako’y nakiusap po talaga sa kaniya para ‘wag namang magkalituhan”

BENHUR ABALOS — On Wednesday, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has asked Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to defer the implementation of lifting the face mask policy in the city.

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos

Abalos said in an interview over ABS-CBN on Wednesday that he requested Mayor Rama if it’s okay for him to postpone the implementation of his new policy.

Pinakiusapan ko po si Mayor Mike Rama na baka puwede namang Mayor Mike, marami tayong batas na ganito, okay lang ba sa’yo baka pupwedeng i-defer natin muna (Non-madatory of face mask wearing) tapos ito’y ire-refer ko sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” Abalos said.

He noted that the Cebu City mayor was amenable to his call and in return guaranteed Mayor Rama that he will prioritize his move to possibly make the wearing of face masks “non-mandatory” outdoors.

READ ALSO: Cebu City Mayor Signs EO Lifting Mandatory Face Mask Policy In Outdoor, Open Spaces

Although he understood the reasons behind the relaxation of the face mask policy, the DILG chief maintained that there are laws that need to be followed especially since the Philippines is still in a state of public health emergency.

Abalos vowed to raise the issue and discuss it with the IATF, telling the local chief executives to still enforce the face mask policy until a decision is made.

Face Mask
Photo Source: Cebu Daily News

Also, the DILG chief expressed willingness to pilot test the relaxed mask-wearing mandate in the city to see whether it can also be implemented nationwide.

The statement came after learning that Mayor Rama signed an executive order making the wearing of face masks in outdoor and open spaces “non-obligatory” in the city.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) urged all local government units (LGUs) to follow the mandatory face mask policy amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

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