Consumer group head facepalms as PH fails to move on from face shield issue

Published June 20, 2021, 1:31 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The leader of a pro-science consumer advocacy group said it’s “sad” that Filipinos can’t seem to agree on the use or non-use of face shields, while its neighbors in the region have already moved on to bigger things as far as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is concerned.

(Ali Vicoy / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

“It’s very sad that while our neighbors in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are now talking about business recovery, Filipinos are still debating on the use of face shields outside of the medical environment,” Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) President Angelo Palmones said on Sunday, June 20.

There is a current confusion on whether or not Filipinos should still use face shields on top of face masks while out in public.

Palmones said one cause of the confusion is the fact that “We simply put minimal science in what we are doing.”

“Global health protocol only requires [the use of] face mask. The use of face shields was simply an addendum of some enterprising guys in IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force). I’ve been asking what science supports it?” he said.

According to the former House of Representatives member, the face shields being used by healthcare workers in hospitals shouldn’t be compared to the mass produced versions.

“For hospitals, the medical grade face shields are not the same as those sold on the street,” Palmones said.

Meanwhile, the AGHAM head welcomed Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Guillermo Eleazar’s recent directive telling police officers to refrain from apprehending non-wearers of face shields until there is clear-cut policy on it.

“That’s very logical. How can you implement unclear policies? Good that we have a PNP chief with logical thinking,” he said.

“Face mask + physical distancing = 91 percent protection. Face mask, physical distancing and faceshield is 96 percent protection. Will you then arrest someone with 5 percent defficiency, jail him for hours with more chances of getting the [COVID-19] virus in very crowded detention facilities?” pointed out Palmones.

Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed a statement from President Duterte wherein the latter said that face shield use should only be implemented in hospitals.