Some lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Thursday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s new policy to ease the government’s face shield requirement by allowing its use only in hospitals.
In a statement, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the recent policy guidance is science-based, practical, and necessary, as it unburdens Filipinos who are in low-risk situations and environments like public areas both indoors and outdoors, as well as those who commute by bikes, scooters, private motor vehicles, and public transport.
“We are relieved and thankful for the policy guidance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the necessity of wearing face shields in hospitals and other medical facilities,” Garbin said. “We acknowledge the sensitivity of President Duterte to reason. He listens to justified, reasonable public clamor.”
Garbin, however, pointed out the people who prefer to wear their face shields can continue to do so as it is their personal safety preference and prerogative.
He expressed hope that the incidences of non-compliance with minimum health protocols in government offices and private workplaces will be addressed.
“The DOH (Department of Health) must share, within the bounds of data privacy laws and regulations, the Covid positive test results in all workplaces by specifically serving notice on each workplace where they have positive results,” he said.
He said the DOH must also compel them to suspend operations for at least two days to conduct disinfection and sanitation measures and to provide ample assistance to their personnel who test positive.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo thanked President Duterte for listening to her suggestion and other public servants to loosen the rules on the use of face shields.
“President Duterte is right that the wearing of face shields should be required only in hospitals and medical facilities,” Tulfo said.
Tulfo said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 must always consider practicality and ease of compliance.
“This is why I have been pushing for simplified rules instead of the many different rules which ordinary people and frontline implementors have trouble understanding,” Tulfo said. “I again ask the IATF to please simplify the myriad of guidelines and rules so public compliance will improve especially among those allowed outside of their residences.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that President Duterte did say that the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals, adding that “what the President said becomes a presidential policy”.
Roque made the remarks, after Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a Twitter post earlier Wednesday, said Duterte has agreed that the public should only be required to wear a face shield when they go to hospitals.
Sotto, during a Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on Tuesday, noted that the Philippines is the only country in the world requiring the use of face shields in public spaces.
Earlier, Manila Mayor Francis “Isko Moreno” Domagoso also called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift its policy mandating the wearing of face shields in all public places “to lessen the expenses and problems of the people.”
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the task force can still make an appeal to convince Duterte to reconsider his new policy on the use of face shield. SOVEREIGNPH