The Department of Health on Tuesday, 13 September defended President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s Executive Order No. 3 which allows the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, particularly in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.
In a media briefing, Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was based on science.
"We are part of the IATF and we chaired that. In every decision we made, we always based it on science and evidence," Vergeire stressed.
"The primary objective of the government is to open up sectors. We — the Department of Health — are part of the government," she added.
The statement came after Dr. Tony Leachon, former special adviser of the National Task Force against Covid-19 slammed the government's new masking policy, adding that the DOH is yielded to the IATF but pushes for the wearing of masks indoors and outdoors to wash the blood in their hands.
Vergeire denied that the Health department yielded to the IATF, stressing that the health agenda was not sacrificed in the resolution.
"The health agenda was not missing in the resolution. We can position that this lifting of outdoor masking will only be done in the low-risk settings," she explained.
On Monday, the Malacanang announced that Marcos has approved the recommendation of the IATF allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings.