MANILA – Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to loosen the face shield mandate would somehow ease the financial burden of poor Filipino families who were adversely affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Velasco said the new policy that face shields are no longer required outdoors is a welcome development.
“We fully support his continuing effort to come up with policies that aim to unburden our kababayans during these trying times,” Velasco said.
Velasco thanked the President for heeding the advice of medical experts to limit the use of plastic face coverings in “3 Cs”—closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
“This is a step in the right direction given the absence of solid medical proof that face shields are effective against the transmission of the deadly coronavirus,” he said.
He also noted that the latest move would help reduce the environmental impact of face shields, which contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.
Duterte approved the Technical Advisory Group’s recommendation to mandate the wearing of face shields in areas with “high-risk” activities.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said revisions to the current policy on the use of face shields will be discussed during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday afternoon.
“Inaasahan po natin na aamyendahan ng IATF ‘yung guidelines na naapektuhan dahil nga po doon sa kautusan ng ating Presidente (We expect that the IATF will amend the guidelines [on use of face shield] following the President’s directive),” Roque said in an online press conference.
The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020, issued Resolution 88, mandating all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public spaces to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.
Duterte, however, in June this year ordered the public to wear face shields in hospitals.
Duterte later decided to keep the IATF-EID’s policy on the mandatory use of face shields in public places, considering the presence of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant. (PNA)