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CUA: LGUS TO BOOST VAXXING FOR ‘MASKLESS’ PH

The national government should work urgently with local government units to improve its booster vaccination numbers to ensure a smooth transition to a “maskless Philippines,”  Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines president Dax Cua said.

This, after Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., on Monday, approved an executive order that makes the wearing of face masks voluntary in outdoor settings.

“Both the national government and LGUs should be aggressive in having more people get COVID-19 booster shots so that our attempts to liberate ourselves from the clutches of the pandemic can go full throttle. More boosted Filipinos will mean fewer severe cases, fewer casualties, and we bring COVID-19 down to a manageable level,” Cua said.

Executive Order No. 3 allows the voluntary wearing of masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

“Perhaps the President can even convince celebrities to volunteer for the cause. We need every bit of help we can get to push up the number of boosted Filipinos.”

Senior citizens, immunocompromised individuals, and those yet to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however, are still “highly encouraged” to wear masks and observe physical distancing at all times.

The wearing of face masks is still required in indoor establishments, including public transportation, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

While more than 72 million Filipinos have completed Covid-19 vaccination, only 18 million people have so far gotten booster shots.

The government has slated a booster vaccination drive on September 26-30, during which it has targeted giving booster shots to between five to 21 million people.

The Quirino governor urged LGUs to underscore the importance of booster shots to their constituents.

“If we must use creative means or even incentivize those who get booster shots, let’s do it,” Cua, who also chairs the League of Provinces of the Philippines, said.

Cua also emphasized the need to remain vigilant amid the new order.

Cua also called on the government to use the free airtime allotted for government public service announcements on national and local TV and radio stations to convince people to get booster shots.  

“Perhaps the President can even convince celebrities to volunteer for the cause. We need every bit of help we can get to push up the number of boosted Filipinos,” he said.

Cua also emphasized the need to remain vigilant amid the new order.

He stressed that LGUs should continue to strictly implement other health and safety protocols and continue investing and capacitating public health institutions so that they are prepared for any possible outbreak.

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