The Marcos administration’s decision to make the wearing of face masks indoors voluntary makes the country at par with its neighbors in liberalizing mask mandates, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said.
Frasco made this remark in a press briefing Tuesday, where she confirmed that President Ferdinand R. Marcos is set to issue an executive order making donning of masks indoors no longer mandatory.
“Generally, the direction of the Marcos administration is to lift the remainder of travel restrictions into the Philippines, and that includes easing of our mask mandates to allow our country to be a par with our ASEAN neighbors who have long liberalized their mask mandates,” Frasco said.
Frasco said the wearing of masks would remain required in public transportation, medical facilities, as well as medical transportation.
Mask-wearing is still highly encouraged for unvaccinated individuals, persons with comorbidities and senior citizens, according to the tourism chief.
Frasco said issues concerning mask mandates as well as new COVID-19 variants had been extensively tackled during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting last week with other Cabinet secretaries.
Meanwhile, the tourism chief added that replacing the One Health Pass with an e-Arrival platform introduced “great convenience to our travelers and tourists in a sense that the interface is now more user-friendly.”
“Twenty questions that used to be in placed have now been reduced to 10 – specifically those that are tourism-related,” she said.
According to the Department of Health, more than 73 million individuals, or 94.09 percent of the target population, have been inoculated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 25.
This figure includes the additional 85,137 individuals who were jabbed from Oct. 17 to 23.