Duterte ‘requires’ local governments to buy, distribute face masks to residents

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered local chief executives to purchase and distribute free face masks within their respective localities while the national government waits for the arrival of coronavirus vaccines from foreign drugmakers.

Speaking at his weekly public address with members of his Cabinet, the president asserted the role of face masks in protecting Filipinos from coronavirus transmission.

The Department of Health often makes the same reminder in its daily messages. It earlier said that face masks guarantee “about 60 to 70% protection” from the virus, while an added face shield and physical distancing bring the number up to 99%.

He said, “I leave it to the local chief executives. Governor, mayor, barangay captain … The provincial government, and the municipal governments, and the city governments, I require you to buy and give it for free.”

The president last year gave a similar order to government agencies.

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