MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos on Friday signed an executive order (EO) allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor settings.
Under EO 7, the wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings shall be voluntary except in healthcare facilities, medical transport, and public transportation by land, air, or sea.
The liberalization of the face mask mandate has been recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) through its Resolution 3 (s. 2022).
Mask-wearing is still encouraged for the elderly, individuals with comorbidities, immunocompromised persons, pregnant women, unvaccinated individuals, and symptomatic individuals, according to the EO.
"A policy of voluntary wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor settings is a positive step towards normalization, and a welcome development that would encourage activities and boost efforts toward the full reopening of the economy," Marcos said.
The minimum public health standards will continue to be strictly enforced.
The EO also directs the Department of Health to update the MPHS guidelines.
Marcos, meanwhile, encouraged provinces, highly-urbanized cities, independent component cities, and municipalities with low-risk classification but Alert Level 2 status to meet vaccination targets to undertake efforts in expanding their vaccination and booster coverage.
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. (PNA)