Guevarra: Cebu cannot ignore IATF rules on face masks

Guevarra: Cebu cannot ignore IATF rules on face masks
A man smokes on the street with his face mask pulled down before getting on a jeepney in Cebu City on June 8, 2022.
Philstar.com / Jonathan de Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Pandemic guidelines issued by local governments cannot overturn those set by the government’s national pandemic task force, Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra said Monday.

This was after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia made face masks optional outdoors and in open spaces in Cebu province through an executive order issued last week. 

However, Guevarra emphasized that Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases resolutions may be incorporated or enabled by executive orders issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He highlighted that the IATF is composed of Cabinet secretaries “who are the alter egos of the president.” Between the IATF resolution and the executive orders of an LGU, it is the IATF decision that should be followed.

“The president exercises general supervision over local governments, pursuant to Section 4, Article 10 of the Philippine Constitution,” Guevarra said. 

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said that even their department does not recognize the order issued by Garcia in Cebu, explaining that they would have to follow guidelines set by the IATF. 

Año added that the Philippine National Police will confront and arrest those who violate the IATF guidelines in Garcia’s province of Cebu.

Cebu police bucks DILG on face masks

In a statement by the Cebu Police Provincial Office on Friday evening last week, Police Col. Engelbert Soriano said that Garcia’s executive order “remains the law as far as Cebu province is concerned and we recognize that, unless it is later on invalidated by proper authority.” 

“In all other situations, mask is still required. It actually encourages people to wear it in closed and crowded places and when with symptoms,” Soriano said. “In the latter case, the PNP will come in for appropriate enforcement.”

Last year, Garcia also issued an executive order that went against the national government’s protocols on the return of overseas Filipinos. She later set the order aside “in deference to the president.” 

Garcia was recently re-elected to her post as governor in Cebu by a landslide. She leads the One Cebu Party, which endorsed the candidacy of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Duterte's term as president ends on June 30. —  Kaycee Valmonte with a report form Franco Luna and The STAR / Le Phyllis Antojado

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with