On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) asked its employees to continue donning face…
In airports, Cayetano and Tulfo clarify the use of face masks.
Early on Wednesday, Senators Pia Cayetano and Raffy Tulfo hotly debated the wearing of a face mask during the floor discussion on the Department of Tourism’s proposed budget.
Tulfo, who had just returned from a vacation to Europe, recommended that DOT work with concerned organizations to address the wearing of face masks since it “turns off” tourists.
He did so after noticing that every airport employee was interacting with people while concealing their faces. He claimed that face masks are no longer worn by many people in the US, Europe, and even some regions of Africa.
“Paddling in the airport should be turned off if you’re wearing a face mask. The face mask is a turn-off when you arrive at the airport and see all of the staff wearing it. Halos lahat ng mga kawani doon sa airport naka-facemask at pumunta po kayo sa mga iba’t ibang mga place sa Europe, sa Amerika, wala na pong nagpe-facemask doon. No one wears face masks any more in America or many parts of Europe),” Tulfo told Senator Nancy Binay, who sponsored the DOT budget.
According to Executive Orders Nos. 3 and 7 issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., wearing a face mask is voluntary and optional both inside and outside.
“I believe for their own protection, itong mga kababayan natin sa (Our people in the) airport, eh tinutuloy pa rin po nila yung pagsuot ng (they elected to keep wearing) face masks,” Binay added.
Senator Pia Cayetano, who was slated to defend the Department of Health’s 2023 budget, entered and informed Tulfo that Singapore and Thailand are now the only other Southeast Asian nations that do not mandate the wearing of face masks both inside and outside of buildings.
But people still cover their faces to protect themselves.
“However, I believe it is an Asian phenomenon because people are wearing masks in restaurants and the airport. We take great care, “Cayetano emphasized that wearing a face mask is a fundamental human right. They can decide,” Cayetano stated.
She continued by saying it was reckless of the DOT to devise a plan that would require its employees to remove their masks while in the airport.
“Having long represented the health sector, I don’t think we should think about it, and I don’t think it’s the responsibility of DOT to come up with a plan to require our employees who are seen in the airport or in the tourism sector to remove their masks, “Cayetano stated that she prefers to wear a mask, particularly when not alone.
Tulfo noted, however, that he was not advocating making it mandatory for individuals to not wear face masks (in the airport), and he acknowledged that it is currently optional.
“I’m not instructing the people in the airport to take off their face masks because that’s their right,” Tulfo added. “Yung mga taong nasa airport kailangang alisin na nila ang kanilang.”
That is what he was trying to express, according to Tulfo, who added that perhaps the DOH and the DOT might discuss relevant regulations so tourists can still travel to the Philippines without feeling let down.
Tulfo made it clear that the DOT is not responsible for his worry, but he hoped that it might work with other interested agencies to discuss the issue.
The proposed PHP3.759 billion 2023 budget for the DOT and its affiliated agencies was eventually approved by the Senate after a few interpolations.
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