DoT supports optional mask wearing

Frasco said there is an urgent need for the national government to adapt to prevailing global practices, and to be at par with the country’s ASEAN neighbors.

September 10, 2022

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco expressed support to the Health department’s proposal for the optional wearing of masks outdoors as this is now being practiced in other parts of the world.

Earlier, Joey Concepcion, Private Sector Advisory Council chief for jobs and Go Negosyo chairperson, also backed the suggestion of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to lift the outdoor mask mandate.

Frasco said there is an urgent need for the national government to adapt to prevailing global practices, and to be at par with the country’s ASEAN neighbors in terms of entry processes and health and safety protocols to jumpstart tourism recovery in the Philippines.

It was Frasco, as quoted by Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles in a press briefing in the Palace last Wednesday, who said that masks are no longer worn in countries that have posted a significant increase in their tourism sector.

“With the recent improvement of the global tourism landscape as a result of immunization, countries around the world have been instituting various measures such as the reopening of international borders and relaxation of health and safety protocols and requirements, resulting in an immediate positive economic impact of these countries and faster recovery of their respective portfolios,” Frasco said.

Based on a comparative analysis of mask mandates, Covid-19 incidence, and tourist arrivals of the Top 5 ASEAN countries comprising Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, more liberal mask mandates did not appear to cause an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

“The Philippines is currently in a position wherein its existing entry and stay policies for tourists convey only a partial reopening of the country to international travel. For this reason, the Philippines is immediately at a grave disadvantage as a tourism destination vis-à-vis its neighboring ASEAN member states because the latter, which are the Philippines’ direct tourism competitors, have all lifted their mask mandates either totally or partially,” Frasco explained.

The DoT chief maintained that the liberalization of the mask mandate “will give the Philippine tourism industry a better chance to regain its vibrant and booming operations.”

She noted that aside from Singapore, other ASEAN countries saw a general increase in tourist arrivals and, except for Indonesia, a general decrease in the number of daily Covid-19 cases after mask mandates were liberalized.


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