Frasco says to await new admin's mask mandate, health protocol for tourism

Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2022 06:46 PM

Incoming Tourism Secretary Christian Garcia-Frasco. Photo from Christina Frasco's Instagram Page
Incoming Tourism Secretary Christian Garcia-Frasco. Photo from Christina Frasco's Instagram Page

MANILA - Incoming Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said Monday she will await the direction of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. when asked about her recommended mask mandate and health protocol for tourism.

"I defer to the wisdom of both the current and the incoming administration as far as the maintenance or liberalization of health protocols is concerned," she said.

Frasco, who spoke to journalists after her first visit to the Department of Tourism main office, is a daughter of Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia whose relaxed face mask rule in her province was opposed by national government officials.

“We've recently been in Singapore with my family. And there, the mask mandate has been lifted for outdoor areas. It is required for indoor areas but it's optional for outdoor areas," Frasco said.

"People now have the necessary discernment and responsibility to wear their mask when they're inside and take it off when they're outside.The result of which has been a resurgence of their economy as far as the attraction or more tourists in that country," she added.

But she said she does "not wish to question the policies of the national government nor do I wish to impose on the wisdom of the incoming administration."

"I only wish to bring to the attention of the necessary decision makers, the necessity of balancing life and livelihood, and examining closely the health and safety protocols that will serve best the preservation of not just life but also the economy and how best we can proceed that can promote and not further derail the tourism destinations within our country," she added.

Garcia's recent order made wearing of face masks optional in open and well-ventilated areas in the province, except for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government asserted that local governments should follow national guidelines set by the Interagency Task Force on COVID-19, which, among others, still require the wearing of masks outdoors.

The Philippines has seen an increase in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past few days amid the detection of subvariants of the coronavirus, waning immunity and non-compliance of minimum health standards.


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