As Cebu defies mask rule, DILG reminds LGUs to obey nat’l policy

By: Christia Marie Ramos - Inquirer.net | June 16,2022 - 01:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reminded local government officials on Thursday, June 16, 2022, to follow orders from the national government in the wake of the move by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to make optional the wearing of masks in open spaces in the province, contrary to the policy approved by the national government.

Año said the issue of local government units (LGUs) defying national policies came up in his meeting with incoming Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Wednesday, June 15.

“Isa rin yan sa aming napagusapan nung kami ay nag-meeting kahapon at siya naman ay talagang agree din or sumasangayon na dapat ang ating mga local government officials ay sumusunod sa pambansang kautusan, sa mga batas, executive orders,,” Año said in a Teleradyo interview.

(It was one of the things that we talked about when we met yesterday and he agrees that our local government officials should follow national policies, laws and executive orders.)

“So ang ibig sabihin nito: ‘wag tayong maging pasaway kasi ang mahihirapan dito talaga yung ating mga kababayan [This means: let’s not be stubborn because it is the public who will suffer]. You’ll be causing undue injury to the government and to the people, particularly to the people of Cebu,” he added.

Last week, Garcia issued Executive Order No. 16, lifting the mandatory wearing of face masks in open and well-ventilated spaces in the province of Cebu.

Last Tuesday, the Cebu provincial board adopted Garcia’s order through an ordinance. In response, the DILG ordered the Philippine National Police to continue with the mask mandate enforcement in the province.

“Behaving in bad faith and utmost partiality and/or gross inexcusable negligence will lead to a lot of damage later on. Ngayon medyo tumataas yung ating COVID cases daily at dahil nga may mga bagong subvariants [Now we are seeing an increase in COVID cases daily and we are also monitoring subvariants],” Año went on.

“So ‘wag tayong makampante. Sumunod tayo sa pinaguutos ng ating pangulo, sa IATF, (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) na instrumento ng ating pangulo sa pagpapatupad ng ating protocols at alert level system. So wag sana tayo maging pasaway para sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

(So let us not be lax. Let’s follow the order of the president, the IATF that serves as the president’s instrument in implementing policies and the alert level system. So let’s not be stubborn for the sake of public health.)

READ MORE:

Cebu province stands ground on rationalizing use of face masks, challenges DILG to show proof on legal basis

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TAGS: Cebu face mask rule, Cebu province vs DILG, EO 16, Governor Gwen Garcia, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, optional wearing of face mask, Rationalizing face mask use

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