MAYOR Sebastian Baste Duterte remains lukewarm to the idea of optional wearing of face masks outdoors, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Duerte said during his special radio program over the Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday that he supports the recommendation of Acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez to maintain the mandatory wearing of face masks indoors and outdoors until December.

Okay na nga hangtod December kay gusto man gud nako nga kadtong mga probinsya, mga munisipyo, ug ubang siyudad nga dili na mag face mask gusto nako tan-awon unsay mahitabo ato nila (It is ok until December because I want to see what will happen to provinces, municipalities and cities that will not impose face masks),” he said. 

Davao City will only follow suit after the data proves that optional protection would not result in a surge of cases.

Dili ko gusto mag-una una kay kapoy kaayo nga problema ang COVID gyud (I do not want us to lead because COVID is a huge problem),” the mayor said, citing that for the past two years, the city’s economy suffered due to the deadly virus. 

He said that he cares for the lives of people who will be affected once this is fully implemented.

The mayor said that Davaoeños should wait until the data from other places becomes conclusive, showing that non-wearing of face masks is safe. 

Hulat nalang ta hangtod December or maybe gani dili muabot ug December, tan-awon nato ang datos sa ubang lugar, kung ok gani, eh di optional, mao na atong buhaton (We will wait until December or maybe earlier, if we could check the data from other places, if it is ok, then we will implement the optional face mask, that is what we will do,” the mayor said. 

CDO not keen on 

optional face mask

Meanwhile, in Cagayan de Oro City, vaccine hesitancy among senior citizens has prompted city officials to rethink the recommendation by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the optional use of facemasks.


City Health Officer Dr. Rachel Dilla said vaccine hesitancy among senior citizens is “high,” making it not advisable not to wear facemasks even outdoors.

 “That proposal is so dependent on 1st booster dose and COVID status here. It (wearing facemasks) would still be advisable for senior citizens and those with co-morbidities,” Dilla said.

She said only 10 percent of the senior citizens had received their first booster shots out of the 90-percent target.

She said data with the CHO showed it is difficult to reach out to the senior citizens because they are hesitant to be inoculated.

She said only 60 of the 5,361 senior citizens targeted for inoculation last August 22 were given the first booster shots.

“It’s a measly 1.14-percent coverage since the rollout of the Pinaslakas targets,” Dilla said in an office memorandum obtained by MindaNews.

 Last July, the Department of Health launched “Pinaslakas,” the nationwide booster vaccine campaign aimed to increase the number of Filipinos that would be given booster shots to help maintain the country’s wall of immunity against COVID-19.

 BenCyrus Ellorin, communications group head of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy said City Hall is fully aware of the problem and is devising plans to disseminate the booster shots among the senior citizens.

 In several interviews, Uy even offered to give one sack of rice and goodies to every senior citizen willing to be inoculated.

“The administration of Mayor Uy is working hard to meet the Pinaslakas targets. He believes that vaccination is our best protection against the virus,” Ellorin said.

 He said Uy also believes that vaccination will be the key to the city’s economic recovery. (With reports from MindaNews)


Source: Mindanao Times (