MANILA – The use of wearable air purifiers in Cebu is being “encouraged and promoted” to help curb the transmission of COVID-19, acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said.
“That is being promoted, being encouraged because that will in a way makakabawas yan ng problema ng transmission,” he said on TeleRadyo.
Asked by host Noli de Castro if this is mandatory or voluntary, Rama said, “Voluntary yan.”
Rama’s remarks come after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed on September 7 Executive Order No. 41 requiring employees of all establishments allowed to operate under general community quarantine (GCQ) to wear face masks and personal air purifiers at all times.
The same order required the establishments to use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and to disinfect their premises with an ultraviolet germicidal light after business hours.
“Ganoon din. That is being encouraged and promoted,” Rama said of the policy.
Drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles, who are also required to use wearable air purifiers under the policy, have urged the local government to provide these for free.
In response, Rama said, “Bakit hindi? Kung may pera, kung may maibibigay why not?"
"Dapat trabaho din yan sa may operators kasi pag we really want to promote business, balance ng ekonomiya tsaka health, tulung-tulungan yan,” he said.
An Inquirer report also said various workers groups have protested Garcia's new executive order, saying that they cannot afford to buy air purifiers with their meager pay.
Rama said in response, “I’m telling you, hindi naman yung requirement na sila ang bibili. Sa amin naman sa City of Cebu, we’re not requiring na sila ang bibili, we’re only encouraging them na likelihood they will also follow.”
“’Tsaka kung yung operator nandyan, kung meron yung mga driver sila na naman yung dapat na magte-take charge. Ikaw naman yung passenger, kung pwede lang, alam mo naman ang pinag-uusapan namin, we would like to promote. Hindi yung talagang they will be compelled to wear it,” he said.
Rama said the move has the backing of the local business sector.
“Sa totoo Kabayan, ang pinakaimportante, 'yang requirement na yan, galing rin yan sa ating Chamber of Commerce, yung sa ating mga business sector kasi tinitingnan mo, if they will not get themselves also into the same situation, they can become also a transmitter.”
“Kung ito lahat likelihood it will be followed somehow, mas maganda ang sitwasyon sa workplace, ‘di ka na mapoproblema,” he said.
The Department of Health has said it does not recommend the use of air purifiers due to the lack of evidence that shows they can prevent the transmission of COVID-19, according to Health spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.