MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday urged all the local government units (LGUs) to respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s current policy on the wearing of face shields in the country.
This, after Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso signed an executive order (EO) limiting the mandatory use of face shields to “hospital setting, medical clinics, and other medical facilities.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque appealed to LGUs to wait for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) final decision which will also be approved by Duterte.
Roque cautioned that a new face shield policy issued by any LGU might prompt the public to disregard Duterte’s directive to continue wearing it in enclosed spaces.
“Hindi pupuwede kasing nagkakaniya-kaniya sa panahon ng pandemya (We cannot afford to be not united amid pandemic),” he said in an online press briefing. “Respeto na lang po sa ating Presidente dahil lahat naman po ng desisyon ng IATF ay desisyon ng Presidente (Just respect the President because all the decisions made by IATF are also the decisions made by the President).”
Despite Malacañang’s stance against his EO, Domagoso said he has no plan to lift the order.
Domagoso said the issuance of his order is in accordance with the Local Government Code which allows every LGU to “exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”
Roque, however, said local chief executives must observe the right process to make sure that the policies of IATF-EID would be followed.
“Baka isipin ng lahat ng ating mamamayan, pupuwede ng balewalain ang mga IATF policies. Papaano ngayon susunod ang mga mamamayan kung ang mga mayor mismo ay hindi sumusunod. So sa akin po ay idaan sa tamang proseso at maghintay naman po (People might think it’s all right to ignore IATF policies. How will the people if mayors are not complying? So, for me, follow the right process and wait for the decision),” he said.
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the task force would discuss on Thursday the plan to withdraw the requirement of wearing a face mask in public places.
He also ensured that the IATF-EID would also consider all insights from concerned stakeholders, including local chief executives.
“So, sa akin po kung ayaw niyo talagang sumunod siguro pagpapakita lang ng respeto sa proseso dahil pinakikinggan naman po ang boses ng lahat (for me, if you do not want to follow, just show respect to the process because we are listening to the voices of everyone),” Roque said.
The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In June this year, Duterte ordered the public to wear face shields only in hospitals but immediately decided to keep the IATF-EID’s original policy following the presence of the more infectious Delta Covid-19 variant.
He later announced in September this year that the use of face shields will be limited to the so-called “3Cs,” which refers to “closed and crowded spaces, and close contact.” (PNA)