By Rjhay E Laurea
QUEZON CITY — Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr., asked Cebu City Mike Rama and the latter heeded the request of the former to defer the implementation of Executive Order No. 5 series of 2022 declaring the use of face mask in Cebu City as non-obligatory.
The DILG, as per Secretary Abalos, acknowledges the support and initiatives of the local government units (LGUs) in making the country safer against COVID-19 and the country is still in a national health emergency.
“Our President Ferdinand ‘Bong-Bong’ Marcos, Jr. has called the Filipinos to be more vigilant and proactive in following established health protocols. In this respect, I join everyone who has good and honest intentions in achieving the mandate and purpose of his respective sector— the IATF, the National Government Agencies, the LGUs, and even the business sectors. One way to strengthen this noble goal is to harmonize existing laws and policies where implementation should benefit the public— enhancing public trust and confidence,” Abalos explained.
With this in mind, I had a talk with Mayor Mike Rama to defer the implementation of Executive Order No. 5 series of 2022 declaring the use of face masks in Cebu City as non-obligatory, and Mayor Mike agreed to temporarily put this Executive Order on hold by virtue of my commitment to bring the matter to the IATF for deliberation,” he added.
He said he is going to even further suggest making Cebu City the pilot implementer of this measure since the city has always been first in espousing non-masking policies outdoors for the ease and benefit of its people amid the pandemic.
“In the spirit of unity, I likewise appeal to all Local Chief Executives to do the same until I bring this matter to the IATF. I have already requested the IATF Secretariat to immediately convene in order to thoroughly discuss this measure,” Abalos disclosed.
He assured that the whole of DILG will support its implementation as soon as this initiative gains the concurrence of the experts and policy-makers of the IATF.
“Handang makiisa ang DILG sa layunin ng bawat sektor na isulong ang mga inisyatibong makabubuti sa ating mga komunidad, kaya’t bukas ang Kagawaran na makipagtulungan sa lokal na pamahalaan sa pagpapatupad at pagpapalaganap ng mga estratihiya upang muling makabangon ang ating mga kababayan mula sa pandaigdigang pandemiyang dulot ng COVID-19 (The DILG is ready to go along with the goals of each sector to push for initiatives that will be good to the community. That’s the reason why the Department is open to cooperate with the local government units in the implementation and expansion of strategies to help our countrymen survive the world pandemic that is the result of widespread COVID-19 virus),” Abalos said. (ai/mtvn)