'No flip-flopping on face shield policy,' Roque asserts

Published June 22, 2021, 3:08 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, June 22, denied flip-flopping on the face shield policy. He pointed instead to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senator Joel Villanueva as having prematurely announced that the wearing of face shields will no longer be required in outdoor spaces.

In this photo taken on September 19, 2020, people wearing face shields queue up at a public market in Manila. (TED ALJIBE/AFP)

The Palace official said there’s nothing wrong with changing and adjusting policies because the government has to adapt to the mutations and variations of the coronavirus disease.

“Wala pong mali mag-flip-flop kung meron kasi mga (There is nothing wrong with flip-flopping because there are) supervening events…It will continue the process of adapting, as this disease further develops and mutates, magpapatuloy po ‘yan (it will continue),” Roque added during his virtual presser.

READ: Duterte wants mandatory use of face shields limited to hospitals – Sotto

The spokesperson mentioned two instances when the government has to change its policies—the surge in COVID-19 cases because of the Alpha variant and the entrance of the new more transmissible and infectious Delta variant.

“So depende kung ano ang nadidiskubre ng siyensya, kinakailangan marunong tayo mag-adapt (So, it depends what science discovers, we have to learn how to adapt),” Roque said.

He denied announcing the policy before it was made final during Monday night’s meeting between President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“I didn’t announce it. It was Senate President Tito Sotto who announced it, corroborated by Senator Villanueva, so it’s not an issue of announcing. I didn’t announce it. The Senate President and Senator Villanueva both announced it and I only confirmed that verbally the President said it,” he said.

Duterte initially wanted to scrap the wearing of face shields in outdoor spaces, but after meeting with medical experts on Monday night, he said the new strain of virus requires the use of face shields for the public’s protection.

READ: Face shields no longer required outdoors, Palace rules

The Philippines is the only country in the world with a face shield policy.