MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday appealed to Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles not to discourage the faithful from wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked Arguelles to “stick to his role in society” after the latter said that people do not need to wear face masks and face shields if they have faith in God.
“Sir, I hope we stick to our roles in society. Ang mga Bishops po kinakailangan sa pananampalataya lang ng tao (Bishops are needed for the faith of the people),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing.
Roque pointed out that science and medical professionals have proven that the wearing of face masks is effective to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
He expressed hope that he would use his influence to inform the public on ways to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
“Sana po gamitin na lang natin ang impluwensiya natin sa lipunan para tulungan iyong bayan na mabawasan ang kaso ng Covid (I hope we can use our influence in the society to help lessen the number of Covid-19 cases in the country),” he added.
Roque said observing quarantine protocols should be encouraged, not discouraged.
“Well, i-encourage po natin ang pagsusuot ng face mask kaysa po i-discourage ‘no (Let us encourage the public to wear face masks instead of discouraging them),” he said.
In his homily on Wednesday, Arguelles said that those who love God, one another, and the environment need not to wear face masks.
“Kung nasa atin ang pagmamahal na ‘yan (If we have that kind of love), you don’t have to worry. Wala tayong aalalahanin. Kahit wala kayong mask, hindi tayo takot. Tayo rin naman ay mamatay. Pero hindi kamatayan ‘yan, pupunta tayo sa buhay na walang hanggang (Even though we have no mask, we have nothing to fear. We’ll all die anyway. But it’s not death, it’s eternal life),” he said.
He also claimed that people responsible for Covid-19 are also the same ones developing vaccines and that they were doing it to earn money.
The national government currently requires the public to wear face masks and face shields in public areas.
Health authorities said face masks prevent the spread of the virus as they help trap droplets before they spread into the environment.
However, it must be used as a supplementary protection to strengthen other preventive measures such as physical distancing and frequent handwashing. (PNA)