Duterte eyes free masks for Filipinos amid spike in COVID-19 cases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2021 12:55 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the distribution of free face masks for the public, as the Philippines registers a new surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Duterte said in a public briefing Monday he observed most Filipinos, especially the underprivileged, still wear the same face mask they've been using for a long time since they don't have money to buy new ones.

"We have to provide the masks for everybody. Eh kung 'yang tao walang pera pambili, walang mask, how do you expect compliance from him?" he said.

Duterte said the Department of Interior and Local Government and barangay captains can help with the provision of face masks. 

His message came days after the Philippines reported its largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases in more than 6 months, and its first case of the highly contagious variant first identified in Brazil.

The Philippines also reported 5,404 new infections on Monday, its fourth-highest tally in a day since the start of the pandemic.

With 626,893 coronavirus infections, the country has the second highest COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.

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