Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is pushing for a stricter implementation of policy on the mandatory wearing of face masks in public to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on Friday, July 17, Go cited expert recommendation that wearing the right kind of masks significantly decreases risk of spreading the virus.

“I am urging the government to enforce a stronger mask-wearing policy in the country. Let us make this a discipline among all Filipinos as we continue our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Go said.

“According to experts, wearing the right kind of mask decreases the risk of spreading the virus by 85%. With social distancing and the use of face shields, the risk may be reduced by more than 90%. This is why, in the absence of a vaccine, wearing a mask remains a must,” he added.

Go, then, urged the government to provide masks for those who cannot acquire or afford them. He added that he will talk to the Executive department to discuss how government can provide face masks to poor Filipinos.

“I am urging the government to use its resources to provide face masks, especially to the poor. Importante po ang mga mahihirap na ‘di makabili ng mask, ito ang gawan nila ng paraan,” he mentioned.

“Ito po ang aking isusulong ngayon. Mananawagan po ako at kakausapin ko ang Executive department. Papakiusapan ko si Pangulong Duterte na magawan ng paraan na mabigyan ng mask ang mahihirap nating kapatid… sana unahin nila ang mahihirap, katulad ng 4Ps beneficiaries na talagang kasya lang ang pera sa pagkain, ‘di kayang bumili ng mask,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go said he hopes that the provision of face masks to the poor be considered as one of the specific measures the government may implement under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One or the Bayanihan 2 Act which will be tackled in the Senate again once the Congress session resumes.

“Naghihirap na po ang mga Pilipino at karamihan ay wala namang pambili ng mask. Maglaan po tayo ng pondo para dito upang mas epektibong maimplementa ang stronger mask-wearing policy sa bansa,” Go said.

“Pinaalalahanan ko ang publiko na ang pagsuot ng mask ay pangunahing paraan upang proteksyunan ang sarili at bilang pagrespeto o pagbibigay konsiderasyon rin sa kapwa tao. Huwag natin balewalain ang simpleng patakaran na ito na makakapagligtas ng buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino,” he stressed.

Earlier, Go appealed to export-oriented local manufacturers of medical supplies and equipment to retain most of their outputs for use in the Philippines. This is to address the scarcity of certain medical supplies and equipment given worldwide shortage amid the COVID-19 global crisis.

The Senator also emphasized that while donations of medical supplies and equipment from other countries are appreciated, the country cannot rely on outside sources all the time.

“While we appreciate that some countries have given us those much needed items, we cannot rely on outside sources all the time. We need to enhance our own local production capability,” he added.

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