Face Masks in Workplace Are Now Optional, Says DOLE

Face mask-clad pedestrians in Manila in September 2022.Photographer: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

MANILA, Philippines  —  It is now up to Employees and employers whether or not to wear a face mask at work following President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s repeal of the mask requirements.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma declared in Labor Advisory No. 22 that businesses and their employees might be required to wear face masks in light of hazards and risks, industrial needs, and the prevalence of other infectious illnesses.

“Employers and their workers have a shared responsibility to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and minimum public health standards.”

Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE)

To attract tourists, Marcos made masks optional in indoor and outdoor settings as officials pointed out that the Philippines still had stringent mask standards compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors.

The Department of Health, which heads the pandemic task group, has repeatedly warned against relaxing the mask requirement since it could increase COVID-19 cases.

Due to this, DoLE mentioned that people working in healthcare offices, medical transport vehicles, and passengers using public transportation still need to wear masks.

Wearing masks is also “encouraged” for the elderly, unvaccinated people, pregnant women and those with comorbidities, the immunocompromised, and anyone with coronavirus symptoms.

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