March 23, 2022
MANILA — Even though the number of COVID-19 infections is currently “very low,” President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not yet ready to revoke an order for the mandatory use of face masks especially in enclosed public places.
“The numbers are very low compared to the population. Itong mask, maraming nagtatanong, alam mo I am not ready to order the removal of the mask,” he said in a recorded public address aired on Tuesday.
He reasoned that the COVID-19 pandemic is still existing and may stay for long amid reports of new variants detected in other countries, which may eventually reach the Philippines.
“Matagal pa ito [pandemic]. Reports say na may bagong COVID variant found in Israel. So whether we like it or not, kung totoo ‘yan, it will reach again the shores of our country,” Duterte said.
He likewise told Congress not to touch provisions of the Bayanihan law, saying these are intended to address future COVID-19 surges.
“Sana ‘wag na lang galawin ng Congress. If you want to legislate it, so be it but ‘wag galawin ‘yan kasi that is in preparation for another surge of another variant,” the President said.
“Nagmu-mutate itong monster na ito at hindi natin malaman kung ano talaga ang katapusan nito. I guess it would be there or here for the longest time,” he added.
(This monster is mutating and we don’t know the end of this.)
Earlier, the Department of Health said that among the health measures being set by government to curb the spread of the disease, removal of face masks would be the last one to go.