Velasco asks Duterte to scrap face shield mandate in PH

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco wrote to President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday, September 20, asking the president to scrap the face shield mandate in the Philippines.

"The use of face shields has made little difference in protecting against the transmission of COVID-19 over the proper use of masks alone, and imposes an additional burden to poor Filipino families already reeling from the adverse effect of the pandemic on their livelihood,” Velasco said in a letter sent Monday.

International health organizations and medical experts have said repeatedly that face shields should not be mandated as they hold little evidence of preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite this, the Philippine government has been requiring Filipinos to wear face shields when they leave their homes ever since the start of the pandemic.

Velasco pointed out that the policy was not only unnecessary but also costly, especially to Filipinos, who are already financially burdened by the pandemic.

"The cost of a face shield of about P20 to P50 is already a substantial amount equivalent to the cost of a meal for these poor Filipinos, and mandatory requirement of the same takes away money for food from these families,” Velasco explained.

Duterte sits as the chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in charge of managing the pandemic. So far, the IATF, mostly composed of his Cabinet members, has been raising recommendations and he approves them. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.