‘Why is IATF still requiring masks outdoors?’ Angara asks
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sonny Angara is baffled by the continued mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors here in the country when the same is no longer required in open spaces all over the world.
For Angara, the wearing of face masks outdoors should be made optional but should still be required in crowded places.
The senator expressed his sentiments on the issue when asked about Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s opinion that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) requirement of wearing face masks should prevail over that of the Cebu governor’s optional policy.
“Sec. Guevara has no choice but to implement the law and policy; having said that, why is the IATF still requiring masks outdoors?” Angara asked in a text message on Tuesday.
“All over the world masks are no longer required outdoors; why do we still have such a policy to begin with? Doesn’t science already support the proposition that there is much less risk of catching the virus in an outdoor setting?” he added.
In Europe and in the United States, he said, people are no longer required to wear masks outdoors.
“That’s why the US economy has rebounded and produced over a million jobs in the last few months,” the senator pointed out.
So when asked if the wearing of face masks should just be made optional here in the Philippines, Angara said: “Outdoors yes; in crowded spaces ok to still require masks.”
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, meanwhile stressed that policies—either by the national or local governments— “must be science-based and data-driven.”
“Who between the two governments have such basis? Then that one must prevail,” Sotto said in another text message.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is standing by the optional wearing of face masks in outdoor and well-ventilated areas in their province even if it runs against the IATF’s mandatory wearing of face masks in open and indoor spaces.