Face mask still mandatory in public transport in Davao

Some commuters ride a jeepney sans their face masks in downtown Davao City on Wednesday (11 January 2023). The city government is still requiring commuters of public transport to wear face masks. MindaNews Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 January) – The wearing of face masks remains mandatory in public transportation in Davao City, the spokesperson for the local task force on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) said.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson for the task force, said in a phone interview on Tuesday that face masks are still required and not voluntary or optional for both drivers and passengers of public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, buses, vans and taxis.

She said Mayor Sebastian Duterte signed Executive Order 71 on December 1 adopting Presidential Executive Order 7 of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. allowing voluntary wearing of face masks in “indoor and outdoor settings.”

“We are following EO 7 of President Marcos. Even if face masks are made optional both indoors and outdoors, there are still areas where it is mandatory. One of those areas is public transportation whether air, sea, and air,” she said.

Schlosser explained that under the order optional or voluntary wearing of face masks does not include the following: healthcare facilities, including but not limited to, clinics, hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes, and dialysis centers; medical transport vehicles such as ambulance, and paramedic rescue vehicles; and public transportation by land, air, or sea.

Wearing of face masks is highly encouraged for elderly, individuals with comorbidities, immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, unvaccinated individuals, and symptomatic individuals.

Section 3 states that the minimum public health standards “intended to effectively prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the city shall continue to be implemented consistent with the principles of shared accountability, evidence-based decision-making, socioeconomic equity, and rights-based approach.”

“Whoever said it is optional, it is not true. It is mandatory to wear face masks when riding public transportation,” she said.

She said the public might have lowered their guard as cases have continued to decrease but reminded them that the threat of the infection has remained.

She asked them to continue following the guidelines.

As of January 15, Dr. Rachel Pasion, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Heath-Davao, said the total active cases in the region were reported at 206 cases with 3.2% case fatality.Of this total, she said 69 are in Davao City, 47 in Davao del Sur, 40 in Davao del Norte, 28 in Davao de Oro, 19 in Davao Oriental, and 3 in Davao Occidental. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)