Palace allows voluntary wearing of facemasks in outdoor settings

Palace allows voluntary wearing of facemasks in outdoor settings

Malacañang Palace issues Executive Order No. 03, lifting the mandatory wearing of facemasks and making the wearing of face masks optional in open spaces or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

Read full text of EO No. 03 below:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 03

ALLOWING VOLUNTARY WEARING OF FACEMASKS IN OUTDOOR SETTINGS AND REITERATING THE CONTINUED IMPLEMENTATION OF MINIMUM PUBLIC HEALTH STANDARDS DURING THE STATE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY RELATIVE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

WHEREAS, Section 15, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them; WHEREAS, Executive Order (EO) No. 168 (s. 2014) created the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), and mandates the same to prevent and/or minimize the local spread of emerging infectious diseases in the country.

WHEREAS, Proclamation No. 922 (s. 2020) was issued declaring a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

WHEREAS, Proclamation No. 1218 (s. 2020) extended the period of the State of Calamity due to COVID-19 throughout the Philippines until 12 September 2022:

WHEREAS, EO No. 151 (s. 2021) approved the adoption of the Alert Level System and authorized the IATF to amend or modify the Guidelines on the Nationwide Implementation of Alert Level System for COVID-19 Response (Guidelines):

WHEREAS, the Guidelines provides, as a preventive measure, that well-fitted masks shall be worn properly at all times, whether outdoors or in indoor private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air, or sea, except only in few instances;

WHEREAS, the IATF, through its Resolution No. 1 (s. 2022), recommended to liberalize the mask mandate by.

1. amending the Guidelines and making wearing of face masks optional in open spaces, or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation, provided that senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks; or

ii. in the alternative, issue an EO lifting the mandatory mask mandate and allow the optional wearing of face masks in open spaces, outdoor areas,

WHEREAS, as of 06 September 2022, seventy-two (72) million individuals or 93% of the target population in the Philippines are fully-vaccinated, while eighteen (18) million individuals or 23% of the target population have booster doses;

WHEREAS, eighty-eight (88) of the country's one hundred twenty-one (121) provinces, highly-urbanized cities, and independent cities, and six hundred ninety six (696) of the country's component cities and municipalities are under Alert Level 1:

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the Philippine economy to contrac in 2020, and its effects trickled down to the grassroots level, resulting in loss of jobs and closure of businesses; WHEREAS, despite sustained growth in the Philippines' gross domestic product,  economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing amidst uncertainties in the international economic environment;

WHEREAS, EO No. 166 (s. 2022) provides for a Ten-Point Policy Agenda on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and directs all government departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities, including government owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and state universities and colleges (SUCS), and enjoins local government units (LGUs) to, among others, further reopen the economy through the safe resumption of economic and social activities;

WHEREAS, neighboring countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and various countries across the world have liberalized mask mandates without a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases; and

WHEREAS, Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution provides that the President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices, and shall ensure the faithful execution of the laws;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and existing laws, do hereby order:

Section 1. Voluntary Wearing of Face Masks In Open Spaces. The voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation, is hereby allowed, provided that not fully-vaccinated individuals, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks, and physical distancing will be observed at all times.

Face masks shall continue to be worn in indoor private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air, or sea, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Section 2. Minimum Public Health Standards. The minimum public health standards (MPHS) intended to effectively prevent and minimize the spread of COVID 19 in the country shall continue to be implemented consistent with the principles of shared accountability, evidence-based decision-making, socioeconomic equity and
rights-based approach.

In this regard, the DOH is directed to update the MPHS guidelines with the issuance of this Order. The DOH and the IATF may submit recommendations for further adjustments in the MPHS, including the liberalization of indoor mask requirements, should the indicators for monitoring the status of COVID-19, such as vaccination rates and improvement in COVID-19 booster coverage, warrant the same.

Section 3. Assistance and Cooperation of Agencies and LGUs. All departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including SUCS, GOCCS, govemment financial institutions, and LGUS are directed to render full assistance to and cooperation with the IATF for the effective and orderly implementation of this Order.

Section 4. Separability. If any section or part of this Order is declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions not otherwise affected shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 5. Repeal. All orders, rules and regulations, issuances or any part thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Order are hereby repealed. modified or amended accordingly.

Section 6. Effectivity. This Order shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

DONE, in the City of Manila, this 12th day of September our Lord, Two Thousand and Twenty-Two.

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