Lawmaker raises concern on eased mask mandate outdoors as Christmas celebrations near

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2022 02:20 AM

Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado expressed concern over the lifting of mask mandate outdoors, as Christmas celebrations near. He raised the matter during the House plenary deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Health.

DOH’s budget sponsor, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, assured fellow lawmakers the agency is closely monitoring the number of COVID cases in the country. But she stressed, it is necessary to administer booster shots to more eligible individuals.

The Philippines has administered a total of 19 million booster shots, according to data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. DOH record, meanwhile, shows that of its PinasLakas vaccination campaign target, 2.7 million or 11.36 percent received a booster since it was launched last July 26.

"Around late December of 2021 up to early January 2022, we experienced a high surge of COVID-19 cases, most probably exacerbated by Christmas celebrations and other holiday activities. With December fast approaching and the mask mandate easing up, how is the Department of Health ensuring that we don’t experience a similar surge again?” Bordado asked.

"It’s our second week of implementing this policy of optional mask wearing. Nakamanman ang ating ahensya kung tataas ba ang numbero, ang bilang ng COVID cases dahil dito. Sila po ay actively monitoring that possibility. But in the medium term, ang talagang makapagpapababa ng cases in a sustainable way is really the vaccination program, pagpapalawak ng booster program,” Quimbo replied.

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