After flip-flopping gov’t policy on face shields, Sotto seeks Senate probe

Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants the upper chamber to probe into just how effective face shields are in preventing coronavirus transmission after the Duterte government’s flip-flopping policy on its use.

On Wednesday, June 23, Sotto filed Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 757 directing the Senate committee of the whole to convene and investigate, in aid of legislation, the efficacy of wearing face shields to prevent COVID-19. 

There’s a high chance the Senate inquiry will be scheduled soon, since the probe was sought by no less than the Senate President himself. 

Sotto called for the probe just two days after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening, June 21, decided again to require people to wear face shields both outdoors and indoors

But seven hours earlier on Monday, Malacañang announced the supposed end to mandatory use of face shields outdoors. 

The flip-flopping policy exasperated Sotto, who argued that no other country has been requiring its population to wear face shields apart from the Philippines.

“Sinong genius ang nambola sa gobyerno (Who's the genius who misled the government)?” the Senate President asked reporters. 

In his resolution, Sotto said the Department of Health had submitted to him a list of countries that use face shields or visors against COVID-19, but none of them make it a mandatory policy. These include China, South Korea, Malta, United Kingdom, and the state of Oregon in the United States.

The Senate President also said purchasing face shields is an added burden to Filipinos who are already bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“[The] wearing [of a] face shield is not among the recommended protocol from world health experts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 virus… Our people should rather invest in a proper mask that is scientifically proven to protect them from the virus,” said Sotto. 

There is no recommendation from the World Health Organization nor the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make the wearing of face shields against COVID-19 a policy.

As of Tuesday, June 22, the Philippines has logged over 1.36 million cases of COVID-19 with 23,809 deaths and 1.3 million recoveries. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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