DILG policy on mask to prevail in Cebu – PNP

By: Nestle Semilla - Inquirer Visayas | June 13,2022 - 09:15 AM
Photo of people wearing face masks for story: DILG policy on mask to prevail in Cebu – PNP

ALL COVERED | People continue to wear face masks as they attend the culmination of the National Service Training Program at the St. Francis of Assisi open grounds in the City of Naga in south Cebu on June 10, a day after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia lifted the mandatory wearing of masks in open places in the province. (Photo by MARY GRACE OBERES)

CEBU CITY, Philippines —The director of the Central Visayas Police Regional Office assured his superiors in Camp Crame that the Cebu provincial police will abide by the directive of their boss, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, over the use of face masks in open spaces in the province.

Police Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega, Central Visayas police director, said he already talked to Police Col. Engelbert Soriano, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, who earlier announced his decision to follow Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s order that makes the wearing of masks optional in well-ventilated places.

“Colonel Soriano will follow the directives of the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government),” said Vega in a text message to the Inquirer on Sunday.

“Stand pa din to follow the chain of command (It remains our stand to follow the chain of command). What the directives from higher headquarters [are], we will follow,” he added.

The Inquirer repeatedly contacted but failed to reach Soriano on the phone since Saturday. A text message sent to him was also left unanswered.

Can’t be optional

On Friday, Soriano said in a statement that he would follow Garcia’s executive order not to apprehend or arrest those not wearing a mask in outdoor places in the province.

According to Soriano, Garcia’s executive order remained the law in Cebu unless invalidated by proper authority.

Garcia’s executive order dated June 8 lifted the mandatory wearing of face masks in open and outdoor spaces in the province.

The order, she said, “rationalizes” the wearing of face masks within Cebu.

Garcia, however, stressed that the wearing of face masks would continue to be required in closed and/or air-conditioned spaces, as well as in crowded areas.

Wearing of face mask was also required for those who have symptoms of COVID-19, such as “fever, cough, or runny nose.”

Año has criticized Garcia’s directive and ordered the police to arrest those who will not wear face masks in outdoor settings.

The Department of Health also raised concern over making the wearing of face masks in open places as optional since the pandemic is not yet over and COVID-19 continues to be a threat to public health.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has said local governments should not rush into scrapping health protocols against COVID-19 and that the country should “take it slow” in getting to a “new normal” phase where there were no more restrictions.

In an online briefing on Friday, Vergeire emphasized the role of wearing face masks in preventing transmission as primary series vaccination in some areas and general booster uptake remained low.

She pointed out that local governments are bound to follow the protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which state that face masks can only be removed when eating and while doing sports activities.

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, DILG, face mask, Gwen Garcia, PNP
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