Commuters try to catch a ride at a bus stop along EDSA in Quezon City on August 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
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 that the equipment be used in indoor and outside dining (except when eating), 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.
Vergeire said that seven other agencies would have to agree after they revise the memorandum.
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 spoke in a recorded speech.
(In those three areas, face shield is still a must. That’s our recommendation. It’s not allowed to be used outside of these 3 limitations.
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,” Jonathan Malaya, Interior Undersecretary, said.
(It’s better to still bring a face shield. It doesn’t have to be worn all the time when we go outside.