By Junex Doronio
CEBU CITY — Dubbed as the “Iron Lady of Cebu” or the “Iron Lady of Southern Philippines” for transforming Cebu into the country’s richest province, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia refuses to stand down from her “word war” with retired Army general and outgoing Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano on the issue of face mask-wearing.
Garcia minced no words when she fired at Año, suggesting that in his remaining 10 days in office the appointee of outgoing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should better focus on crime prevention, illegal drugs, and economic recovery rather than Cebu’s face mask policy.
“It’s time to refocus… that we must give time to the real problems that we are facing. Economic problems, peace, and order because when the economy is bad, people will resort to crime when they can no longer feed their families. Why don’t we do that? Let’s work together, let’s join hands,” Garcia quipped.
Año earlier maintained that Garcia’s executive order to drop the mandatory use of anti-coronavirus masks in open spaces in the province has no legal basis since there is no existing national policy or issuance to support it.
“‘Yung executive order na in-issue ni Governor Gwen Garcia is considered to be defective kasi it does not have any legal basis. It does not implement or interpret existing national law, or even a provincial ordinance. Contradictory din ito sa national government issuances, like mga executive order, (EO) 1218, placing the country under a state of calamity from September 13, 2021 to September 12, 2022, and also contrary sa guidelines ng nationwide implementation ng Alert Level System for Covid-19 Response,” the outgoing DILG secretary said in a radio interview.
But Garcia said she will stand with the Provincial Board’s ordinance adopting her controversial executive order on optional face mask-wearing. (ai/mtvn)