Oliver Bugarin 8 0 0 4 min to read

Abalos is willing to correct the “miscommunication” with the Cebu mayor on the mask EO.

In response to what appears to be a “miscommunication” over the local chief executive’s directive making wearing face masks optional in his city, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. stated he is willing to speak with Mayor Michael Rama of Cebu City.

“There seems to have been a misunderstanding about what Mayor Rama and I spoke about with reference to the matter. Abalos said in a statement on Friday, “I respect Mayor Rama’s comments and I fully intend to keep communication lines open to allow him the chance to clarify his viewpoint and the rationale behind the implementation of the city-wide ordinance.

Abalos stated that as part of his pledge, he will suggest that Cebu City serve as a test site for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in order to evaluate the lifting of masking measures in open spaces and outdoor settings (IATF).

“The DILG will remain united with every sector, especially local governments in the country, in protecting people’s health and ensuring our gradual recovery from the pandemic caused by Covid-19,” he continued.

The execution of Executive Order No. 5, which makes wearing face masks in all areas of Cebu City optional, has been postponed, according to Abalos’ report on Thursday.

Rama, however, refuted Abalos’ claims and persisted in applying the EO.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has repeatedly urged the public to be watchful and proactive in adhering to health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease, and Abalos emphasized that the nation is still in a situation of a national health emergency (Covid-19).

In cases when execution should benefit the public, he stressed the significance of harmonizing current laws and regulations.

Abalos pleaded with the local chief executives to postpone any potential steps until he brought the issue to the IATF, which he asked to meet so that it could be thoroughly discussed.

Face masks are no longer required in open areas in the province, according to Executive Order 16 that was issued in June by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia.

Garcia’s EO angered then-IATF officials, who insisted that the nation’s mask mandate should remain in the face of the pandemic.

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