Marcos to make indoor face mask use voluntary with few exceptions

President Ferdinand R. Marcos will make the use of face masks in indoor settings voluntary "with few exceptions", Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco announced Tuesday.

This developed after Marcos presided over a Cabinet meeting at MalacaƱan Palace in Manila on Tuesday morning.

During the Cabinet meeting, Marcos approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to issue an executive order (EO) allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor places, Frasco said in a Palace press briefing.

"As a result of the Cabinet meeting this morning, it was agreed that the President will be issuing an executive order, per the IATF recommendation, to make indoor mask wearing also voluntary all over the Philippines, with few exceptions," she said.


Frasco said the use of face masks will still be required in public transportation, medical transportation and medical facilities.

Unvaccinated individuals, people with comorbidities, and senior citizens are still "highly encouraged" to wear face masks, Frasco said.

"But generally, the direction of the Marcos administration is to lift the remainder of travel restrictions into the Philippines, and that includes easing of our mask mandates to allow our country to be at par with our Asean neighbors [which] have long liberalized the mask mandates," she said.

In September, Marcos signed EO 3, allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, particularly in open spaces and non-crowded areas with good ventilation.

EO 3, however, still requires the use of face masks, in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Frasco did not mention when Marcos will sign the new EO allowing the voluntary use of face masks in indoor settings.

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