MANILA, Sept 16 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang remains increasingly optimistic about the Philippines’ economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

STUDENT BACKRIDERS. Parents use a motorcycle and an E-bike to pick up their children at the Salawag Elementary School gate in Dasmarinas City, Cavite on Thursday (Sept. 15, 2022). The first batch of classes is from 6 a.m. to noon, and the second batch is from noon to 6 p.m.(MNS photo)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles made this remark following the statement made by World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that “the end is in sight” for the pandemic.

Cruz-Angeles cited President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to ease the face mask policy as among the measures expected to spur economic growth.

“We are continuing with our economic recovery program and our very recent relaxed mask mandate [is] also pursuant to that one,” she said in a Palace press briefing.

Sharing the same view with the WHO chief, she said she also sees a rosy economic outlook in the Philippines.

“If the World Health Organization is optimistic, so are we in our outlook to recovering from this pandemic,” she added.

Earlier, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion welcomed the President’s decision to allow the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

Concepcion, who is also part of the Private Sector Advisory Council, said relaxing the face mask mandate will allow Filipinos to enjoy a semblance of a normal life.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, in a separate statement, said the optional wearing of face masks outdoors would allow the country’s tourism to catch up in the race of the sector recovery in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.

“The DOT is optimistic that the lifting of the mask mandate will allow the Philippines to gradually catch up in the race to recovery of tourism in the Asean region as this is seen to build more confidence in travel, spur economic activity, and enhance people-to-people connectivity into and around the country,” she said in a statement.

Executive Order No. 3, signed by the President on Monday, still requires the wearing of face masks in indoor, private, or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air, or sea and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Those who have yet to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons are still “highly encouraged” to use face masks. (MNS)