REELECTED Cebu Vice Governor Hilario Davide III advised the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Wednesday, June 15, to bring to court their objections on the policy of the province allowing the optional wearing of masks in open and well-ventilated spaces.

Davide, a lawyer who presided over the special session of the Provincial Board that passed the ordinance on June 14, believes that the implementation of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order (EO) 16 allowing the optional wearing of face masks in open and well-ventilated spaces has become legal as this is now supported by an ordinance crafted under the guidance of the local government code.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año had said the ordinance had no legal basis and was considered defective because it contradicts the national policies embodied in EO 151, EO 168 and IATF Guidelines that make masking in public places mandatory.

“Kung buot questionon na sa IATF, adto sila sa korte to question the validity of the ordinance. Pero ang coverage within the province,” Davide said. (If the IATF wants to question it, let it go to court to question the validity of the ordinance. But the coverage is within the province.)

Davide said the move was an exercise of local autonomy.

“My position on that is it's already an ordinance. It’s a law, so I think that that is what will prevail. That’s my position, and besides this is an exercise of the provinces of the provincial governments’ autonomy. Local autonomy is in the local government code,” Davide added.

Even though they belong to different political parties, Davide believes he and Governor Garcia could come to terms when it comes to programs that would help the Cebuanos.

“Human na man ang politika. Humana man ang election. Niagi naman (The politics and the elections are over), and I am always committed since from the very start. Since the 2019 elections, I announced that I will be supporting the governor’s programs and projects provided that they can help Cebu and the Cebuanos. and this I saw also is for Cebu. Nganong mo kuan man ta nga di man na nako mission sa kinabuhi nga mo-object kanunay,” the vice govenor said. (Why would I object when it is not my mission in life to always object?)

On Wednesday, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter, led by the governor’s daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco, passed a resolution supporting and adopting the ordinance.

In its Resolution 2022-1 supporting and adopting EO 16, LMP Cebu, composed of the mayors of the 44 municipalities of the Province of Cebu, said other countries, including the neighboring Southeast Asian nations of Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia, had already made mask wearing optional in outdoor settings due to the global improvement in the Covid-19 situation.

On the same day, the Philippine Councilors League-Cebu Provincial Federation, led by president Caroline Bacaltos, also issued a resolution expressing its support for Garcia's EO 16 and its supporting provincial ordinance. (ANV, TPT)