Viewers of Duterte’s national address blast Duque for improper wear of face mask

July 16, 2020 - 7:41 PM
Duque with IATF
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a televised meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte with core members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on July 15, 2020. (Screengrab from RTV Malacañang via YouTube)

Filipinos couldn’t help but chide Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who failed to observe minimum public health standards when he was seen wearing his face mask improperly during a televised meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The top health official appeared in the edited video of the meeting and the president’s national addres.

At around the 9:46-minute mark, Duque said he approved the Department of Education‘s plan to conduct physical classes in low-risk areas.

Duque with face mask
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appears on the Inter-Agency Task Force meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on July 15, 2020. (Screengrab from PCOO via Facebook)

In the first few minutes of his appearance, he was then wearing his face mask, although it did not thoroughly cover his nose. It began to move downwards when he further justified his reasons for agreeing with the DepEd’s proposal.

At around the 10:31-minute mark of the video, his face mask has fallen right below his nose but he continued to talk.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appears on the Inter-Agency Task Force meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on July 15, 2020. (Screengrab from PCOO via Facebook)

Some Filipinos who watched the televised meeting or national address took note of the scene and pointed out that as the chief public authority on health, Duque should serve as an example on practicing minimum health standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You know we’re doomed when our own Secretary of Health doesn’t know how to wear a mask properly,” another Twitter user said with an emoji of a girl doing a facepalm.

A Filipino took a screenshot of the particular frame and wrote: “Not following instructions on how to wear a mask. Health secretary iyan ah.”

Columnist and blogger Noemi Dado said that it is her “pet peeve”
when she sees a person who wears a face mask yet fails to cover their nose.

“Like Health Secretary Duque,” she tweeted with a screenshot of his appearance on the televised meeting.

Duque on the same day of the meeting had reminded the public on his Twitter about practicing minimum health protocols such as the wearing of face masks, regular handwashing and practicing physical distancing.

Since April, the national government has made it mandatory for Filipinos to wear face masks whenever they are in public in a bid to reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets containing SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.

Experts from the global community noted that wearing a face mask and strictly practicing physical distancing measures can limit the spread of the virus.

“A review funded by the World Health Organization and published in the scientific journal Lancet earlier this month concluded staying at least three feet from others and wearing face masks does appear to limit the transmission of the coronavirus,” an article from The Washington Post reads.

“A separate study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities found mass-adoption of face masks could even prevent a second wave of the disease,” it added.

Face masks must be worn with the nose and mouth covered so that the wearer can reduce the risk of inhaling viral particles or expelling it if he is infected.

COVID-19 as a respiratory disease infects the lungs and throat and is commonly spread by coughing, sneezing, talking, singing and breathing.