These Philippine Cities Are Getting Rid of the Face-Shield Policy
Since 2020, various studies have concluded the ineffectivity of face shields in protecting people from getting exposed to virus particles. But the World Health Organization, Department of Health, and the national government have stuck to their decision to mandate using the pieces of plastic—at least until September when it was only required in indoor spaces. While the Inter-Agency Task Force has yet to come up with a final solution, a few local government units have taken it upon themselves to make the use of face shields voluntary.
Here are the Philippine cities that have lifted the strict face-shield policy.
Iloilo City's Sangguniang Panglungsod "approved the endorsement amending the mandatory use of face shields," according to Mayor Jerry Treñas. The Iloilo mayor initially called for the "suspension of the mandatory use of face shields or eye protectors in some public places that [the city council] may find acceptable." In a letter addressed to City Councilor Ely A. Estante on November 4, Treñas cited a scientific study saying "face shields are not effective blockers of cough aerosols."
"Mask na lang. But it's up to you kon gusto mo gid ya mag-face shield," local media outlet Iloilo Metropolitan Times quoted Treñas. They also reported that the policy is effective starting November 5.
Mayor Sara Duterte on November 2 signed Executive Order 51, which made the use of face shields voluntary in the so-called 3Cs: "crowded places, close contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces." Prior to this, the national government mandated the use of face shields in the aforementioned category; Davao City, however, made this optional. They've also lifted the use of plastic barriers in public utility vehicles, although drivers still have that option.
Cebu City Acting Mayor Mike Rama clarified on November 5 that businesses have the authority to require the use of face shields among their customers. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam, according to a report by Rappler, said that they would not be issuing any mandate to require face shields within establishments.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno announced on Monday, November 8 that the use of face shields is not anymore required within the Philippines' capital. Wearing of face shield will only be required in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities, according to an executive order.
"For now, this is not mandatory anymore. 'Yong inyong mga kahilingan sa akin, ang inyong mga sulat at messages na pag-aralan maigi 'yung paggamit ng face shield ay ito na po, dininig na po ng inyong lingkod," he said.
UPDATE (November 8, 5 p.m.): On Monday afternoon, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reminded mayors to wait for the Inter-Agency Task Force's decision regarding the use of face shields.
"Hindi naman natin sinasabi na hindi tatanggalin 'yan pero antayin naman po natin ang desisyon ng IATF dahil meanwhile po, until hindi nababago ang desisyon ng IATF, the order of the President through the IATF is ipatupad pa rin ang pagsusuot ng ating mga face shield," he said.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.