The regional health department urged the public to voluntarily wear face masks in both indoor and outdoor areas, particularly in celebration of Undas, after the national government ditched the mandatory use of face masks.

Dr. Matthew Medrano of the Department of Health (DOH) MIMAROPA highlighted that wearing masks, especially during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day when Filipinos flock to visit cemeteries, is an added protection against the still prevalent COVID-19 virus.

“For our own safety ay let us all volunteer dahil 85 percent ng nagfi-facemask ay protected. Kahit hindi ito mandatory ay malaking bagay na magsuot ng face mask lalo na kapag close areas, maraming tao at even lumabas ‘yon, [ang order,] ay hindi pa rin namin pinagbabawal ang pagsuot ng face mask,” he said.

“[Kahit] voluntary na ang pagsuot ng face mask, dapat pa rin na mag-volunteer tayo to protect ourselves and those around us,” Medrano added.

President Ferdinand Marcos signed Executive Order No. 7 on Friday, allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor areas.

EO 7 will be implemented in indoor areas except in public air, sea, and land transportation, health facilities, and medical transportation.

It was signed for final implementation following the recommendation made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) through a resolution.