Metro Manila mayors OK lifting face shield policy - MMDA

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 08 2021 10:51 AM | Updated as of Nov 08 2021 03:45 PM

Commuters try to catch a ride at a bus stop along EDSA in Quezon City on Aug. 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Commuters try to catch a ride at a bus stop along EDSA in Quezon City on Aug. 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE) — Local chief executives in the capital region have agreed to lift the mandatory use of face shields, except in critical areas, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Monday.

"Napagkasunduan namin itong initial position ng Metro Manila mayors to do away with face shields," MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We agreed with Metro Manila mayors in coming up with an initial position to do away with face shields.)

"Wala na hong face shields maliban lamang sa mga critical areas kamukha ng ospital, kamukha ng health centers... and even 'yung mga public transport system po natin," he added.

(No more face shields, except in critical areas like hospitals, health centers and even public transport system.)

He made the remark following the announcement of the City of Manila that it will also do away with face shields, except when in hospitals.

Abalos said Metro Manila mayors would submit their position to the government's pandemic task force.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who also speaks for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the existing policy on the use of face shields in areas that are crowded, closed and cause close contact remains in effect.

"Ang desisyon ngayon ay kinakailangan ipatupad muna ang face shied habang pinag-aaralan naman... Antayin naman natin ang desisyon ng IATF," Roque said when asked for comment on the Manila City government's decision.

(The decision is for now to implement the mandatory use of face shield, while this policy is being reviewed... Let us wait for the final decision of the IATF.)

He called the Manila City government's executive order lifting the mandatory use of face shield except in hospital settings, as null and void.

Abalos said the Metro Manila mayors were backing the proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to stop the use of face shields, except in hospital settings.

Vice President Leni Robredo, whose office also implemented various COVID-19 response programs, said funds being used for face shields should just be allocated to the purchase of vaccines.

"Sa totoo lang, medyo naaasiwa ako na at this point, issue pa din sa atin yung face shield. Imbis na pagkakagastusan natin yun, idagdag na lang natin sa pondo sa bakuna," she said when asked for comment on the face shied policy.

(Honestly, I'm not comfortable that at this point, the use of face shield remains an issue. Instead of spending for it, let's just use the funds to buy vaccines.)

Last week, the Department of Health said it was seeking another week to study calls for government to stop requiring the use of face shields.

Government previously required face shields in all public areas, becoming the only country in the world with such mandate for all amid the pandemic.

But in September, President Rodrigo Duterte said the covering was no longer required in open spaces and would only be required in areas that are crowded, closed and cause close contact.

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