'Matibay ka naman': Duterte asks PDEA chief to take off anti-virus mask at meeting
President Rodrigo Duterte told the chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to remove his anti-virus mask during a taped meeting in Malacanang that aired on Tuesday.
"Wag ka nang mag-ano ng mask, matibay ka naman eh," Duterte told PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva, who was physically present in the meeting venue.
(Do not wear your mask, you're strong anyway.)
Villanueva, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March this year and then recovered, complied with the order before making his presentation.
Duterte himself was not wearing his anti-virus mask, which he has repeatedly reminded the public to use properly. The President has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
He later allowed Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II to also ditch his mask before his own presentation.
Other Cabinet secretaries were also physically present in the meeting, as well as Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, Duterte's longtime aide, as seen in the video.
The government has required face masks and shields in public areas.
There is no definite list of exceptions for this rule. But Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque recently said the public should use "common sense" on when they could ditch face shields, usually made of plastic.
Some say the face shield requirement has no benefits, even as some health experts say it could provide added protection against COVID19.
The Philippines has logged a total of 2,248,071 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, of which 180,293 are active.