The order to require the wearing of face shields and the establishment of isolation rooms in workplaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic is reasonable despite the issues raised by the business community.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement in his Monday presser, after business groups proposed to exempt factory and office workers from wearing face shields.
Roque also reminded the private sector that the fight against COVID-19 is a shared responsibility of everyone after business groups wondered why the government is passing the responsibility of addressing the COVID-19 problem to them.
Roque said that the wearing of face shields was a reasonable requirement of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, saying it increases protection --- when worn together with a face mask -- to 97 percent.
"'Yang pagsusuot ng face shields, napatunayan na po 'yan sa siyensiya na nakakatulong doon sa pagpigil ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 (The use of face shields has been proven by science to prevent the spread of COVID-19)," he said.
"Considering na bumagsak na po ang presyo ng face shield, hindi po unreasonable na requirement 'yan ng IATF (Considering that the price of face shields has already dropped, I think it's a reasonable requirement of the IATF)," he added.
Roque likewise addressed business groups' concern about space for the required isolation rooms for every 200 employees.
According to the Palace official, employers can coordinate with local government units (LGUs) to allow them to build isolation rooms in the barangay where their office or factory can be found.
"Kung space po ang problema, makipag-ugnayan lang po ang ating mga employer sa lokal na pamahalaan at pupwede naman pong bigyan ng espasyo ng lokal na pamahalaan (If space is the problem, just coordinate with the LGU and they can give you a space for your isolation rooms)," he said.
"Shared responsibility po natin ang laban sa COVID-19. Hindi po natin pupwedeng sabihin na ang mga employers, dahil sila ang may-ari ng workplace kung saan marami ring mga transmission ng COVID-19, ay walang responsibilidad (The fight against COVID-19 is a shared responsibility. We cannot say that employers, who own the workplaces where many COVID-19 transmissions take place, have no responsibility for it)," he said.
According to Roque, even the Labor Code requires employers to have clinics inside their workplaces.
"Sa panahon ng pandemiya, hindi po unreasonable 'yan--ang i-require ang mga employer dahil ang sabi ko nga po, shared responsibility naman po ang laban na ito (At the time of the pandemic, requiring employers to have isolation rooms is reasonable. As I said, this fight is our shared responsibility)," he said.