Gwen stands by ‘optional’ face mask policy
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Monday, June 13, 2022, said she has no plans to junk her recent policy on face masks that sparked discussions and debates nationwide.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Noli de Castro for Teleradyo on Monday, Garcia said she will stand by her decision to make wearing of face masks optional, and not a requirement, when going outdoors.
This despite orders from Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to the police to arrest and penalize individuals who follow Garcia’s Executive Order (EO) No. 16.
“May statement na yung CPPO (Cebu Police Provincial Office) na as far as they know, hanggang ito i-baliwala ngproper authority, that is the court of law, yung EO stays,” said Garcia.
The top cops in Cebu, however, are divided as to whether to implement the Capitol’s newest orders.
Recently, the director of Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) assured his superiors in Camp Crame and of the Department of Interior and Local Government that they will follow Año’s instructions.
But the governor also pointed to a provision of the Local Government Code of 1991 that grants local governments autonomy in issuing rules to defend EO No. 16, saying there is legal basis behind her controversial decision.
“Yung local government code- that is the law. Hindi po yung guideliens nang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease). Kaya tinatawag yun nga guidelines… Local governments should be given that due courtesy and respect,” Garcia added.
Last June 9, Garcia issued EO No. 16 that drops the mandatory wearing of face masks in outdoor and well-ventilated areas in the province.
However, the new rule does not apply to poorly ventilated areas and other indoor settings.
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