Provide face shields for commuters, gov't urged

A militant group said Thursday that it will be difficult for Filipinos, especially the poor, when the mandatory wearing of face shields for all public transport passengers takes effect next week.

Passengers travel on a jeepney with seat dividers to ensure social distancing in Manila on July 6, 2020 (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said not all people can afford to buy face shields during this time as the country is brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Has the DoTr (Department of Transportation) considered that not all have immediate access to face shields?” Bayan
Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. asked.

“This is an added requirement with corresponding costs. Yes, it is ideal to have added protection, but will everyone have access to it? And they will be denied transportation if they don't have face shields?" he added.

The DOTr had earlier issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-14 requiring all land, sea, and air travelers to wear face shields effective Aug. 15.

The mandatory use of face shields is an additional layer of protection against the transmission of COVID-19 infection in public transport facilities, according to the DOTr.

Reyes noted that market for face shields follows the laws of supply and demand.

“When face shield are made mandatory, their prices will likely go up because of the surge in demand. Supply may not be enough at the onset,” Reyes said.

“Access may prove to be difficult especially for the poorest of the poor. Remember that this is not just in Metro Manila but a requirement for the entire country,” he noted.

Reyes said it is imperative for the government to provide face shields
when it imposes the policy next week.

“When you make something mandatory, you need to ensure that everyone has access to it. Government should help people by providing face shields,” he said.