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Sara rejects face shield mandate in Davao City

Republika

Davao City – Ever fearless to the bone, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte last week jumped the gun on national government authorities when she unilaterally abolished the face shield rule purportedly imposed to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.


Henceforth, Ms. Duterte said the use of face shields in crowded, confined and close-contact spaces inside city limits is purely voluntary.


This directive is contained in Executive Order No. 51-A (Series of 2021) that was signed by the Mayor last November 2, and disseminated on the Facebook page of the City’s public information office.


Previously, Ms. Duterte has already tested the waters by cancelling the requirement of face shield use inside public utility jeepneys (PUJs) plying city streets.


She said a PUJ cannot be classified under the “confined or enclosed spaces” since there exists a steady flow of air within the vehicle, hence it doesn’t fall under the purview of the national government’s face shield mandate.


Davao City Covid19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser supported the Mayor’s directive as there is a low risk of infection in PUJs due to “open ventilation.”


As of this writing the Inter-Agency Covid19 Task Force (IATF) is reportedly still discussing the subject and hasn’t yet decided whether or not to relax the national policy on the mandatory wearing of face masks.


Ironically, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have already come out openly endorsing to relax existing face shield protocols.


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had earlier called for the scrapping of face shields, especially in factories and work places which don’t have a cool interior or air conditioning, because these interfere with ongoing work.


For his part, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya they are proposing to the IATF to just limit face shields inside hospitals which are high risk environments.


The IATF first issued the face shield requirement in September 2020, at the height of the Covid surge, to minimize the spread of the virus; but in September 2021, President Duterte ordered the relaxation of the regulation by limiting its use in closed and crowded spaces.

Photo: philnews.ph


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