Face shields don’t have to be pricey

Published August 10, 2020, 5:34 PM

by Allysa Nievera and Gabriela Baron

As the country continues to battle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), alcohol and face masks remain a staple.

Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) ordered the mandatory use of face shields starting August 15 to “reduce exposure and emission of respiratory droplets,” as an added protection against the dreaded disease.

The mandatory wearing of face shields is for passengers of all public transport – sea, land and air – in the country.

But even local government units have required their constituents to wear face shields aside from masks. Especially in areas where the coronavirus cases are high.

The new directive has prompted the price of face shields to rise unconscionably.

But while the head of an activist group branded outright the use of face shields as anti-poor, many Filipinos dug into their creative minds to find ways to protect themselves and comply.

Tatay Jose’s improvised full-head shield (Photo courtesy of N Jay Morales)

N Jay Morales spotted tricycle driver Jose Magnabe, 55 wearing an improvised face shield made from a plastic container and posted it on his Facebook account.

“A Very Priceless Initiative of a tricycle driver #Mandatoryfaceshield” Morales wrote.

Morales, who is on a field training program in Hinigiran Negros Occidental spotted Tatay Jose at a bus terminal wearing the improvised face shield.

“During that time pinicturan namin si tatay na naka-improvised face shield. Kaya nag isip kami na bigyan sya at kapwa nya tricycle driver ng face shield kasi yung improvised na face shield niya ay malabo at baka maka apekto sa pag mamaneho niya (When we took the photo of tatay wearing an improvised shield. We thought of giving him and his fellow tricycle drivers face shields because the one he made is not clear and might affect his driving),” Morales told Manila Bulletin.

Members of the Hinigaran PNP pose with drivers and their new face shields

Morales together with the Hinigaran PNP and Public Safety Field Training Program (PSFTP) Hinigaran distributed face shields to Tatay Jose and other drivers in the area.

“Kasi naisipan din namin na ang toda na naka base sa terminal ay sila din yung mas delikado kasi sari-saring mga pasahero ang kanilang nakakasalamuha (The drivers stationed at the terminal are likewise at risk because they are exposed to people),” he added.

Locally made face shields

Recently, the photos of Lido Banay, a Mangyan from Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro went viral after Kyle Brethren Panaligan took photos of him wearing a face mask and face shield made from coconut shell.

Lido Banay’s version of a face mask and eye shield (Photo courtesy of Kyle Brethren Panaligan)

“Gumawa siya ng face mask at eye shield dahil sa takot sa COVID at ang akala nya kaya siyang proteksyunan nito (He made his own face mask and eye shield because of his fear of COVID-19 thinking this could protect him),” Panaligan told Manila Bulletin.

Panaligan said he met Banay when his team went to Barangay San Roque in Bulalacao during one of their outreach programs.

Panaligan said they gave Banay food packs and face masks.

In M’lang, North Cotabato, Engineer Junroe Barrios designed a face shield using a material that is indigenous to the place – bamboo. The face shields are handmade by members of the Central Mindanao Green Workers Association.

A Cotabato farmer makes a bamboo face shield at home (Photo courtesy of Manny Piñol)

Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Emmanuel Piñol recognized the contribution of the eco-friendly face shields and urged the public to support the farmers by buying their face shields.

“Let us support this group of farmers so that they could survive through the economic crisis while providing readily available and locally made face shields,” Piñol wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, artisans and farmers from Bicol also came up with reusable and biodegradable face masks and face shields made from abaca.

A visor-face shield made of abaca (Photo courtesy of ABACAda MASKS)

Local seller ABACAda MASKS sells abaca masks and face shields to help Dumagat students in Tanay, Rizal through “Bag ng Pag-asa,” a donation drive intended to provide school supply kits to 188 students of Paadelan E. Denomagat Elementary School in Sta. Ines, Tanay.

Owners Christine Neria and Cyrene Torres told Manila Bulletin that through the initiative, Dumagat students will receive bags, notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, sharpeners, pad paper, eraser, watercolor, and pencil case to “lessen the burden of children attending their class” and to inspire students to “never give up schooling.”

“The Bag ng Pag-Asa was just a dream that turned into reality. I have encountered several children in remote or secluded areas especially in mountains, which have no access to proper learning materials due to their remote place and financial incapacity,” Torres said.

“During my hike in one of the mountains in Tanay, Rizal, I have encountered Dumagat children walking to their home from school which is really far. They were the first persons that came into my mind when we are looking for [a] beneficiary,” she added.