MANILA — Malacañang and the interior department on Thursday expressed reservation over Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's appeal for the lifting of a policy requiring face shields in public areas.
Moreno on Wednesday urged national authorities to require face shields only at hospitals to lessen the "expenses and concerns" of the public. The Philippines, he noted, seemed to be the only country requiring plastic face coverings.
Wearing face shields and anti-coronavirus masks while practicing physical distancing gives almost the same protection as getting vaccinated, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, quoting infectious diseases expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña.
"So right now, parang walang kinakailangan na compromise because it is a scientific fact na nakakatulong po ang pagsusuot ng face shield," Roque said in a press briefing.
(There seems to be no compromise needed because it is a scientific fact that the wearing of face shield helps.)
"Sa siyensya, may basehan po 'yan. Sa gastos, bagamat nagastusan ang ating mga kababayan, halos lahat naman na po may face shield so wala na pong extra gastos po 'yan," he added.
(It has a scientific basis. When it comes to expenses, even if our compatriots shelled out money, almost everyone now has face shields so there wouldn't be any extra cost.)
However, Roque was quick to say the inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response listens to local officials.
"Kung ito po ay magiging rekomendasyon ng lahat ng mga mayors sa Metro Manila eh talagang pinakikinggan naman po ang ating mga implementers dahil sila po ang nagpapatupad ng mga IATF policies."
(If this is the recommendation of all mayors in Metro Manila, our implementers are really heard because they enforce IATF policies.)
Video courtesy of PTV
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said he has talked with Moreno, and the mayor clarified that he "is not demanding" that authorities shun face shields.
"Kung tatanungin kami sa DILG, hindi pa siguro panahon para tanggalin ang face shield dahil hindi pa tayo nakakalabas dito sa pandemya," Malaya said in a separate public briefing. "Pangalawa, wala pa po tayo sa level na tinatawag nating herd protection or ‘yong tinatawag nating public protection."
(If we at the DILG are asked, perhaps it is not yet time to remove face shields because we are not yet out of this pandemic. Second, we do not have herd protection or public protection yet.)
"Kung tatanggalin po natin ‘yan, kailangan may kapalit… Kailangan po mapalitan ‘yan ng something else, which I think is vaccination,," he added.
(If that is removed, there should be a replacement. It needs to be replaced with something else, which I think is vaccination.)