Are you confused about when and where you need to wear face masks in the Philippines?
Local government agencies recently clarified to the public their latest policies on face mask requirements outdoors and indoors across different contexts. In case you missed it or if ever you needed a reminder, PhilSTAR L!fe has compiled the following protocols for different types of mass transportation in the Philippines.
The Department of Transportation on April 23 posted that wearing face masks will remain mandatory inside trains, including the LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 stations.
PNR passengers, meanwhile, have the option not to wear face masks considering these are open-air vehicles.
Aside from requiring face masks, local trains—including the MRT-3—prohibit passengers from talking to each other or over the phone, as well as prevent COVID-19 symptomatic passengers from boarding.
The Manila International Airport Authority issued a March 15 public advisory clarifying its face mask requirement.
It said that airline passengers are still required to wear face masks once inside aircraft and airside passenger vehicles.
Wearing face masks at Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals, however, is still optional.
Various types of public transport
Although not all government agencies released advisories and other issuances related to wearing face masks, those that are available are based on Executive Order No. 7 (s. 2022).
This allows the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings, "reiterating the continued implementation of minimal public health standards during the state of public health emergency relative to the COVID-19 pandemic."
The said order explained that wearing face masks shall be voluntary except in healthcare facilities, medical transport vehicles, and "public transportation by land, air, or sea."
It also authorized all government agencies and local government units to "render full assistance to and cooperation with" the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
While the executive order didn't enumerate what counts as public transportation, it is still understood to apply to other commuting options like buses, jeepneys, and tricycles, among others that are considered "public transportation."