Governor: Local officials want to rule over face-shield use, not nat’l task force

Job Manahan and Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2021 11:38 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2021 02:38 AM

Video courtesy of PTV

MANILA—The head of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) on Saturday urged the national government to leave the decision over face shield use up to local officials, as virus growth nationwide continued to slow down. 

In a public briefing, ULAP president Dax Cua said while the tool could be considered an "additional layer" of safety, its use might be specified for certain purposes. 

"Ang aming panawagan diyan ay simple lang . . . ’yung face shield siguro ibigay na sa LGU ang desisyon. Anyway, it’s an additional layer of safety. Namandato naman na nationwide itong face mask, baka ’yung face shield ibigay na sa LGU," said Cua, also Quirino province governor.

(Our appeal is simple: Let LGUs decide on the face shield issue. Face masks have already been made mandatory, but maybe the face shield mandate could be left up to us.)

" ’Yung LGU na lang po ang mag-determine, according to their doctors, kung kailangan pa ng face shield in certain circumstances at sila na rin ang magpatupad."

(The LGUs will determine its use based on doctor recommendations in certain circumstances, and they’ll be responsible for carrying those out.)

The country's pandemic task force and health officials earlier this week met over face-shield use, with Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario saying that a consensus has been reached. 

Vergeire, during the same briefing, emphasized that health officials have submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte their recommendations, and it is now subject for his approval.

Mayors in at least 3 areas — namely Manila, Davao City, and Iloilo City — have lifted the face-shield requirement without the task force's decision, prompting some to ask whether the order can be enforced.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has been quoted as saying that mayors need not wait for the IATF decision before junking the face shield rule.

But Malacañang said on Tuesday: "Hindi po pupuwede kasing nagkakaniya-kaniya sa panahon ng pandemya."

(We cannot go our own ways during a pandemic)

Authorities and experts had said face shields help in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but an engineer specializing in wind dynamics called this "redundant" with masks already being used. 

Engineer Joshua Agar of University of the Philippines Diliman had said small respiratory particles could still make their way inside the shield at aerosol windspeed, allowing them to accumulate near the face, due to a negative pressure region it created beneath the shield.

Agar added that face shields may even make people more vulnerable to the virus.

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