Duterte policy on face shield use only in hospitals subject to IATF appeal — Roque

Published June 17, 2021, 2:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is considering revising the rule on the mandatory use of face shields in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/ Malacañang)

President Duterte has preferred that people should be required to wear face shields only in hospitals, which will become a “policy” as protection against the coronavirus, Malacañang announced Thursday.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) however may still appeal the President’s decision and seek the continued wearing of the protective shields in enclosed public spaces, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

Since December last year, the government task force issued Resolution No. 88 requiring the public to wear full-coverage face shields on top of their masks whenever they leave their houses. Local government units have issued ordinances on the stricter use of masks and shields and their corresponding penalties against violators of these health protocols.

“The President did say that the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals,” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, June 17.

“Of course what the President says becomes presidential policy,” he added.

It was Senate President Vicente Sotto III that first announced the President’s stance that face shields should be worn only in hospitals.

READ: Duterte supports face shield use only in hospitals; IATF to review policy

The President’s latest decision on easing the face shield policy however can still be subject to an appeal from the task force in charge of the government’s pandemic response.

Roque noted the health department recognized the importance of wearing of shields especially in indoor spaces with large crowds as additional protection against the virus spread.

“I think the possible move of IATF now is to appeal what the President said,” he said.

He said the IATF may appeal for the wearing of face shields “in enclosed public places, in schools, in workplaces, in commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls and public markets, in public transport and terminals, and in places of worship.”

In a resolution dated December, the IATF ruled that face shields are effective in reducing risk of transmission between persons.

“All persons are mandated to wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable, or doit-yourself masks, or other facial protective equipment which can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever they go out of their residences, pursuant to existing guidelines issued by the national government subject to fair and humane penalties or punishments that may be imposed by LGUs (local government units) or implemented by law enforcement agencies, respectively,” IATF Resolution No. 88 read.

READ: Use of face shield, mask mandatory outside homes