The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has recommended the optional wearing of facemask in non-crowded outdoor areas by end of this year, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.
But Angeles said the recommendation of IATF is not yet a policy as it has to be approved by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Angeles who went on a press conference to make the announcement public said that they are releasing the information to the public because there was a verbal approval from the President during his conversation with Secretary Benhur Abalos of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The announcement was made after the IATF reconvene to discuss recommendations on the face mask policy following the controversial executive order issued by Cebu City government where use of face mask in open spaces of the city was declared optional.
Angeles, however, stressed that the lifting of the mandatory mask will still be in pilot testing, provided there is an improvement in the COVID booster vaccination coverage by the end of the last quarter of 2022.
As of the latest, only 50% of the vaccinated population has avail of booster shots.
But Angeles emphasized that senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to continue wearing face masks.