President Duterte has finally lifted the mandatory requirement on the use of face shields outdoors, except in closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
Duterte made the announcement as the public continued to call for the abolition of the said policy, citing the inconvenience it has been causing and its supposed ineffectiveness in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In his pre-recorded public address aired late Wednesday, September 22, the President revealed that he made the decision following the recommendation of medical experts and a technical working group of the government’s pandemic task force.
“Pwede na tanggalin sa labas (You can now remove it if you’re outdoors). No more face shields outside,” he said.
However, the experts recommended keeping the wearing of face shields mandatory in the 3Cs or establishments and activities considered as close, crowded, and close-contact.
“The use of face shields on top of face masks may be limited to high-risk activities under the 3Cs– close, crowded, [and] close contact,” Duterte said.
“This will include indoor establishments, transportation, gatherings, and other activities that promote close contact, as applicable,” he added.
The President said he has made the order to accept this recommendation of the medical experts.
“Yun ang recommendation, yun ang masunod (That’s their recommendation, so we will follow that),” he said.
“So, I have ordered that the implementation, guidelines, be issued immediately,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte explained anew his earlier decision to keep the wearing of face shields both indoors and outdoors mandatory. He said he got scared by the threat brought about by the Delta variant.
“I got so scared that I ordered the reimposition of the face shields. Sabi ko any, maski gaano kaliit yung contributing factor niya to avoid COVID, okay na lang (I said, no matter how small its contributing factor is to avoiding COVID-19, I’m fine with it). What’s inconvenience?” he said.
In June, President Duterte said he preferred that people only be required to wear face shields in hospitals. However, the government’s pandemic task force was opposed to easing the rules on wearing face shields and appealed that the rule is kept, especially indoors.
After the Department of Health (DOH) reported that a total of 17 individuals got infected by the Delta variant on June 21, Duterte decided to keep the wearing of face shields mandatory both indoors and outdoors again.
“I’m constrained to go back to the old practice because of the threat posed by the new variant (Delta). I cannot afford to place the nation, the national interest of the Republic, [in danger] by just sometimes adopting this and being lenient,” President Duterte said in June.
“It would be disastrous for this country. That is why the stricter you are, the better,” he added.