Palace tells public to wait for final decision on face shield, calls Manila's EO 'null and void'

Wena Cos and Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 08 2021 03:15 PM | Updated as of Nov 08 2021 08:58 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The mandatory use of face shield in select areas remains the national government's policy as of Monday that the public must follow, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said after the Manila City government announced that people in the locality can do away with the protective gear except when in hospitals.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is still continuing its assessment of the existing policy, and has not yet issued a new decision.

Local officials must wait for experts' recommendation and the national government's decision on the use of face shield, the Department of Health also said.

Mayors in Metro Manila have agreed to recommend to the IATF to lift the mandatory use of face shields except in critical areas, such as hospitals and public transport vehicles.

Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, however, already signed an executive order, declaring the use of face shields as non-mandatory except in hospital setting, medical clinics, and other medical facilities.

"Ang aking pakiusap sa mga local government units natin, sa ating mga mayor, lahat ng mga mayor ay under the control and supervision of the President in the Executive branch of government, at ang desisyon ng IATF ay desisyon din ng ating Presidente," Roque said.

(My appeal to all local government units and all mayors is for them to understand that all mayors are under the control and supervision of the President, as part of the Executive branch of government, and that the decision of the IATF is also the decision of the President.)

"So, ang desisyon ngayon ay kinakailangan ipatupad muna ang face shied habang pinag-aaralan naman... Antayin naman natin ang desisyon ng IATF," he added.

(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.)

"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 shields."

(Until the decision of the IATF is modified, the order of the President, through the IATF, is to require the use of face shields.)

Currently, face shields need not be used in open spaces and are only required in areas that are crowded, closed and cause close contact, a policy announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in September.

Prior to that, the government required face shields in all public areas.

"Until that resolution is revoked by the IATF, by the DOH, or by the President, the requirement to wear face shields in 3Cs areas stands," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

"Local government units should take the cue from these national agencies or directly from the President," he added.

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH will meet with the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) later Monday to discuss the matter, and then present experts' recommendation to the IATF on Thursday.

"Nanawagan po tayo sa ating mga local governments, antayin po natin ang IATF na makapagbigay ng kanilang agreement or decision regarding the face shield," she told reporters.

(We call on our local governments to wait for the IATF to decide regarding face shield use.)

"Until we can have the IATF resolution, we urge all local governments to hold their executive orders or issuance so we can all be uniform in our implementation and we are all aligned. We leave it to DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) to manage this kind of issue," she added.

Roque, a lawyer, described the Manila City government's executive order as "null and void... for being in violation of an existing executive policy decreed by the President himself, in the exercise of police powers."

He said all local chief executives need to follow the chain of command in the executive branch.

Face shields protect the eyes, through which the novel coronavirus can enter the body, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the health department’s Technical Advisory Group, had said.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 2,803,213 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 33,526 are active, as of Sunday, the Department of Health said.

- with report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Video Courtesy of PTV