President Rodrigo Duterte announced during his nation’s address on June 21 that the public will continue to wear face shields both indoors and outdoors to prevent a bigger disaster, as reports of the COVID-19 Delta variant emerged.
“As of now the face shield is on, wala tayo magagawa. Yun na lang ang pangkontra ko kasi it is to the national interest,” Duterte said.
The mandatory use of face shields will be implemented as indicated in the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 88 from December last year, which states, “All persons are mandated to wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable, or do-it-yourself masks, or other facial protective equipment which can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever they go out of their residences.”
Two different face shield policies declared in one day
Face shields are still required for both outdoors and indoors, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque tweeted mere hours after he said they were no longer required to be worn outdoors.
At Malacañang Palace's press briefing earlier today, Roque said, “Facemask na lang po paglalabas tayo, except for sa public transportation, tsaka doon sa mga enclosed o di kaya mataong lugar kagaya ng public markets.”
Acting on the advice of health experts and in view of the Delta variant, PRRD declared that the wearing of face shields, both indoor and outdoor, is still mandatory.— Harry Roque (@attyharryroque) June 21, 2021
Hours later, he tweeted that the reversal was due to the advice of health experts following the detection of four more cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the Philippines.
“Acting on the advice of health experts and in view of the Delta variant, PRRD declared that the wearing of face shields, both indoor and outdoor, is still mandatory,” he said.
The face shield policy caused an uproar from the public due to the confusion resulting from clashing statements released by the Department of Health (DOH) and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III last week.
On June 16, Wednesday, DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega announced that face shields should still be worn in indoor establishments or enclosed spaces where the risk of virus transmission is higher.
Sotto released a contradicting statement on Twitter the next day, stating that “face shields should only be used in hospitals.”
The IATF appealed for the face shield mandate to remain, not just in hospitals as Senator Sotto quoted the President as saying.
Sotto’s statement was confirmed by the President at the Palace meeting on June 16 and by Roque at the press briefing on June 17. Roque said that the Duterte did say that and “what the President says becomes presidential policy.”
From what Duterte said tonight, the face shield is here to stay.
Banner photo by Walter Bollozos/Philippine Star