MANILA— The Department of Health is drafting revisions to the memorandum laying down guidelines on the use of face shields, its spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the use of face shields in open areas. The use of face shields has become a highly contentious issue, with critics of the policy noting that the Philippines is the only country that mandates its use.
The DOH says the use of face shields will be refocused to high-risk areas under the 3Cs (closed, crowded, close-contact) framework following expert recommendations.
"Ito po 'yung indoor activities, especially in settings where there is crowding or exposure risk or promotes close contact based on the nature of work, such as with establishments and in transportation,” she said.
Another recommendation is to use the equipment in indoor and outdoor dining (except when eating) and indoor and outdoor gatherings or crowded settings. Other indoor and outdoor activities which promote close contact, like personal care services, would also require the use of a face shield.
"It is highly recommended to use in settings not otherwise stated especially in alert levels 3, 4 and 5,” Vergeire said.
Seven other agencies would need to concur after they complete revisions to the memorandum, Vergeire added.
President Rodrigo Duterte in a public address said he approved the recommendation of government advisers to limit the use of face shields to areas falling under the crowded, closed and close contact (3C) category.
"'Yan tatlo na 'yan, face shield is a must pa rin. 'Yun ang recommendation. Labas sa tatlong limitations, puwede na na hindi gumamit," he said in a recorded speech.
(In those three areas, face shield is still a must. That's the recommendation. Outside the 3 limitations, it's allowed not to use.)
But government officials and experts have advised the public to bring the plastic face coverings at all times, as they still need these while entering certain areas.
“Mas maganda magdala pa rin ng face shield, ’yun nga lang hindi na naman natin kailangang isuot ito most of the time kung tayo ay nasa outdoor setting,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.
(It's better to still bring a face shield. Although we don't have to wear it all the time if we go outdoors.)