Philippines ending compulsory mask wearing outdoors

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. impose / ɪmˈpoʊz / (v.) – to order or force someone to obey or accept something

    The “English Only” rule is imposed in schools because they want students to improve.

  2. compulsory / kəmˈpʌl sə ri / (adj.) – required or must be done

    Wearing IDs on school grounds is compulsory.

  3. issue / ˈɪʃ u / (v.) – to officially announce or give something

    The general issued an order for the soldiers not to attack.

  4. alarming / əˈlɑr mɪŋ / (adj.) – causing fear or worry

    The increasing number of forest fires is quite alarming.

  5. upsurge / ˈʌpˌsɜrdʒ / (n.) – a sudden increase in numbers

    The actress’s endorsement of the product caused an upsurge in its sales.


Read the text below.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved a recommendation to end the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors across the country more than two years after it was imposed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, top officials said.

The Philippines and Myanmar are the last countries in Southeast Asia still requiring the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said, adding the change in the country’s masking policy will take effect after Marcos Jr. issues an executive order.

A study showed the lifting of the mandatory requirement in other countries has not led to an alarming upsurge in infections when people continue to take precautions, he said.

Abalos appealed to people to keep maintaining distance and washing hands and urged the elderly and those afflicted with other illnesses to continue wearing masks outdoors.

Rosario Vergeire, a top health official, said a government body dealing with the pandemic would assess if the compulsory wearing of masks indoors could be lifted toward the end of the year in public areas, which could considerably increase the number of people who would receive their coronavirus booster shots.

The government move came after Mayor Michael Rama of central Cebu City declared the wearing of masks outdoors voluntary in a trial period ending at the end of the year.

Among the hardest hit by coronavirus outbreaks in Southeast Asia, the Philippines imposed one of the longest lockdowns in the world, which caused its worst economic recession in decades and deepened poverty, hunger and unemployment.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Philippines will end the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors. Would you agree if your country did this? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Would you still wear a mask even if it is not required by the government? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The government move came after Mayor Michael Rama of central Cebu City declared the wearing of masks outdoors voluntary. Should cities make their own health protocols, or should an entire country have a national standard? Why? Discuss.
  • What is your opinion of the health protocols in your country (ex. too strict, too lax)? Discuss.