- Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque confirmed in a press briefing that President Duterte did say face shields should only be worn in health facilities
- Spox Roque said that if that is the decision of the President, then it becomes policy
- The President’s statement appears to affirm what was earlier stated by DOH USec Leopoldo Vega that those walking or working in open-air settings no longer need to wear face shields on top of face masks
- Roque however clarified that the IATF could still appeal the decision of the President
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has confirmed that the President, in a meeting with legislators, said that face shields should only be worn in hospitals.
Spox Roque said if that is the decision of the President, then it becomes policy.
“The President did say that the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals. What the President has decided, then that’s the policy,” Roque said during the press briefing.
Such policy runs counter with the position of Cabinet Secretary and IATF Spokesperson Karlo Nograles, who earlier said that the current face shield policy of requiring the public to wear them whenever they go out of their houses remains in place.
Roque then revealed that the discussion focused on whether there are other countries that require them.
“The discussion also focused on mayroon ba talagang ibang bansa na nagpapasuot ng face shield. Let's leave it at that kasi 'yon lang 'yong talagang words that came out of the President's mouth,” Roque added.
The Presidential Spox, however, clarified that the IATF could still appeal the President’s decision.
He said that the task force has a scheduled meeting today and might come up with an appeal for the President to let the face shield mandate stay in place.
In an interview over PTV4 yesterday, DOH USec Leopoldo Vega said those walking or working in open-air settings need not use a face shield.
Several local chief executives and some senators, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, have been calling on DOH and the IATF to scrap the face shield policy, stating that the Philippines is the only country to require them on top of face masks.
Today, Senator Sotto, in a Twitter post, revealed that President Duterte, in a meeting with them last night, favored their sentiment.
“Last night, the President agreed that face shields should only be used in hospitals,” the Senate President said.
Sotto revealed that they had a meeting with the President at Malacañang last night to discuss the issue about face shields. Tagging along were Senators Bong Go, Joel Villanueva, Migz Zubiri, and Bato dela Rosa.
The face mask and face shield mandate was adopted by the IATF after the DOH recommended its implementation to help curb the rise of COVID-19 cases. A couple of months ago, the DOTr, in cooperation with the DOH, also mandated its use even for people riding private vehicles. The public have been protesting the policy claiming that face shields can blur their vision and might even lead to accidents. Even local chief executives and legislators have been calling on various government agencies to scrap the face shield mandate. Despite the growing clamor, the DOH, led by Secretary Francisco Duque III stood pat on its decision to let the mandate remain in place.
Yesterday DOH USec Leopoldo Vega said that Filipinos can start removing their face shields whenever they are outdoors or in open-air settings. He made the statement during an interview over at state television PTV. He said that people who walk or work in open-air areas need not wear them to avoid untoward accidents. His pronouncements run contrary to the position of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, who earlier rejected calls by some mayors and senators to scrap the face shields, and said there is science behind the policy.
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Several days ago, actress and singer Agot Isidro took to Twitter and slammed the use of face shields and posted a side-by-side photo comparison; one wearing, and the other not wearing. She said that face shields were virtually useless, considering that people are already wearing masks. It can be recalled that it is not the first time that the use of face shields was criticized. ACT-CIS representative Jocelyn Tulfo has already proposed for the removal of the restriction on the wearing of face shields.
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