Bongbong Marcos: Face masks may be optional if booster rollout successful, situation very safe
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the government could make the wearing of face masks optional only if the booster rollout is successful and it’s clear that it’s already safe to do so.
Marcos made the remark as he encouraged the local government units to conduct large-scale immunization drives for booster shots targeting school children to safely resume face-to-face classes and fully reopen the economy.
“Gawin na natin ito para makatiyak na tayo, at kapag maging matagumpay ang ating booster rollout ay makikita naman natin siguro, pwede na natin ibaba ang alert level, pwedeng na natin gawin optional ang mask,” Marcos said in a virtual speech before newly elected governors and city mayors posted on his Facebook page on Saturday.
(Let’s do this so we can ensure that, and once our booster shots become successful, we would see that, maybe, we could lower the alert levels, and we could also make face masks optional.)
“Pero hindi po natin gagawin ‘yan hanggang maliwanag na maliwanag na safe na talaga. Dahil, although so far maganda naman ang takbo, hindi naman napupuno ang mga ospital. Ngunit kung hindi tayo maingat, mapupunta na naman tayo doon,” he also added.
(But we will not do that until it’s very clear that the situation is really safe. Because, so far, the situation is good, our hospitals are not getting full. But if we are not careful, we could return to the old situation.)
Marcos also said ramping up booster administration is necessary to prevent another lockdown.
“Gawin natin itong booster rollout at makakatiyak tayo [na] wala nang lockdown at ayaw na ayaw na naming magkaroon ng lockdown. Kaya’t ito naman ang magiging pang-counter natin diyan sa pagkalat na naman nitong Omicron and its variants,” he told local officials,” the president said.
(Let’s do this booster rollout and we will be assured that there will no longer be lockdowns. We really don’t want lockdowns. So this will serve as our counter against the spread of Omicron and its variants.)
In lieu of Marcos, who is still under isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio led the two events with the league of governors’ and mayors’ meeting on Friday to discuss the resumption of full face-to-face classes and the campaign to roll out COVID booster shots for children.
Marcos attended the said two events online after he caught COVID for a second time.
The president had announced the government’s plan to fully resume in-person classes by November.
He also said that Duterte-Carpio plans a phased return to the face-to-face classes, starting initially from a two-day, or three-day weekly class schedule in August and September, until the return of five-days face-to-face classes in November.
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