Gwen defends mandatory use of air purifiers among drivers

CEBU CITY – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia defended her order requiring the mandatory use of wearable air purifiers by public utility vehicles (PUV) drivers and conductors.

Garcia pointed out that the mandatory wearing of air purifier necklaces is meant to have an added protection against COVID-19.

“It was very, very clear that this would be as an added protection on top of the minimum health protocols that have been established, which we have been repeating since the start of this pandemic,” Garcia said in a press briefing Tuesday.

Aside from the mandatory use of air purifiers, the governor also ordered transport operators to follow the 75 percent capacity limit and the “open-air concept.”

The Department of Health (DOH) has said wearing air purifiers is not recommended as it provides “false security” against the virus.

Garcia, however, pointed out that there some published articles in national dailies in which the DOH has encouraged the use of air purifiers as an added protection against COVID-19.

High-ranking government officials such as President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bong Go have using air purifiers, the governor said.

“What is it really? Do you (DOH) have nothing against the use of necklace air purifiers? Or you have a stand against necklace air purifiers? I appreciate Usec. Vergeire’s (Health Usec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire) statement saying ‘hindi po ito nakaka-cause nang harm sa tao’,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s memorandum for the mandatory use of air purifiers by PUV drivers and conductors was supposed to take effect last August 16.

The enforcement of the memorandum was moved to August 25 to give transportation companies enough time to purchase air purifiers for their personnel.

Garcia said the provincial government will also provide free supplementary vitamins to all drivers and conductors.

“Our drivers and conductors also happen to be frontliners. They meet and interact with a lot of people who get on board and disembark their vehicles,” Garcia said.