Malacañang on Tuesday reiterated Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s “legal opinion” that the country’s main pandemic task force’s decision on the mandatory wearing of face masks would supersede any order issued by local government units (LGUs).

Guevarra said resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases were enabled by executive orders (EOs) issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“As between an EO issued by the president, as manifested in resolutions issued by the IATF composed of alter-egos of the president, on one hand, and EOs issued by LGUs, on the other hand, the former shall prevail,” Guevarra said in a statement.

In a separate statement, acting Palace spokesman Martin Andanar said Duterte’s directive was clear: for Filipinos “continue wearing face masks.”

“The chief executive’s directive is clear: Continue wearing face masks; and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has instructed the Philippine National Police to implement the existing IATF resolution on wearing of face masks accordingly,” Andanar said.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia earlier issued an executive order allowing the optional wearing of face masks in outdoor settings but was overruled by the DILG.

The Philippines has 3,130 active Covid-19 cases as of June 14. John Ezekiel J. Hirro