Did Duterte just tell Pinoys to wear face shields again?

Published December 22, 2021, 1:51 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has “advised” Filipinos to use face shields on top of their face masks in order to protect themselves from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kaya yung talagang gustong di kayo matamaan, huwag niyong itapon yung shield (For those who do not want to be infected, don’t throw away the shields), continue using it, I advise you. Because I really firmly believe that the wearing of that face shield has contributed a lot,” Duterte said in his latest “Talk to the People” public briefing, which was aired late Tuesday night, Dec. 21.

The statement was the closest the President has ever uttered to ordering the mandatory return of face shields, which most Filipinos have stopped using ever since various locations in the country were placed under lowered risk classifications under the Alert Level System (ALS).

“I think the compliance of our citizens in the matter of strictly enforcing the masks, one; and when somebody–well it might not be, not really a well-studied proposition–but I would dare say that that shield will add another layer of protection on addition to [the mask].

“I cannot quantify by what percentage but just a gut feeling na yun kasi pababa na tayo ngayon (because our COVID-19 cases are now low),” Duterte said.

The Philippines currently has three confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, all of which came from overseas. Omicron has triggered a new surge of COVID-19 cases in other parts of the globe, particularly in Europe.

Duterte last month approved a directive to drop the face shield requirement in areas placed under alert levels 1, 2, and 3. However, face masks remain mandatory.