Upon President Rodrigo Duterte's orders, Malacañang ordered government agencies to produce, procure, and distribute face masks for the country's poor.
Memorandum Order No 49, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Wednesday, September 16, says the masks will be given free of charge.
Six agencies have been ordered to implement the policy.
Below are these agencies and their role:
The memo did not set a timeline for the distribution of face masks. It also did not specify how many masks will be given to the public for free.
The instructions come two months after Duterte verbally promised to distribute free face masks to Filipinos as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19.
"I will try to buy as many as I can afford, if I can. We'll give it to you for free, but wear it," he said last July 21.
Face masks have become a common sight in the Philippines, largely due to government rules requiring them in public spaces and commercial establishments.
The government also recently added face shields as a requirement for passengers of public transportation and for anyone entering commercial establishments and work places. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.