THE Department of Health (DOH) urged local government units (LGUs) to impose a uniform protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

"Kailangan lahat ng local governments, lahat tayo, iisa lang ang protocol na susundin natin. Kailangan sabay-sabay tayo and magtulong-tulong so that lahat tayo mapupunta tayo at maaatin ang new normal na sinasabi natin," DOH undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa public briefing on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

(We need all local governments, all of us, we all should have one protocol to follow. We need to work together so that we can all go to the new normal.)

Vergeire made the statement following the executive order issued by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, on June 9, lifting the mandatory wearing of face masks in the province, particularly in open and well-ventilated areas.

Vergeire cited the situation in other countries where Covid-19 cases shoot up after removing the mandatory wearing of face-masks policy.

She said the government should wait until the cases in the country become manageable before considering the lifting of the face-mask rule.

"Kaya ang rekomendasyon ng ating eksperto ay huwag na muna, atin po munang ituloy ang pagsusuot ng face mask," she said.

(So our expert's recommendation is not to do it first, let's continue wearing the face mask.)

"Darating tayo diyan, we take it one day at a time... darating tayo sa time na mawawala ang face masks but we need to manage the cases muna sa ngayon,” she added.

(We will get there, we will take it one day at a time... we will reach a time when face masks won't be necessary, but we need to manage the cases first for now.)

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said they do not recognize Garcia’s order, urging policemen to arrest those who will follow the order instead of the order of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Garcia, however, maintained that local chief officials have rights to decide on their own.

Quirino Governor Dakila Carlo Cua said they are also planning to issue an order similar to Garcia’s.

He said they are already confiding with the health experts with consideration to the Covid-19 status of their province.

While Cua recognized the local autonomy, he said the order of the national government should be highly considered. (SunStar Philippines)