(UPDATED) Malacañang on Thursday, June 17, 2021, confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte had said that face shields should be worn only in hospitals.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which recommends policies related to the government's pandemic response, may appeal this new presidential policy.
"The IATF is recommendatory to the President. When the President has decided, then that's the policy. This is without prejudice to IATF appealing, possibly," Roque said in his virtual press conference Thursday.
"I think the possible move of IATF now is to appeal what the President said and what was repeated to the public by the Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) and Senator (Joel) Villanueva," he added.
Read: Sotto says Duterte allowed him to remove face shield in Palace
The IATF is scheduled to meet later Thursday. Roque said he will raise the matter during the meeting.
He said the IATF may appeal the President's decision, particularly on the wearing of face shields in enclosed public spaces, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments (such as food establishments, malls and public markets), public transport and terminals, and in places of worship.
"All I'm confirming is the President said that and, of course, what the President says becomes presidential policy," Roque said.
The settings he mentioned are contained in Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-0001, which the Department of Health (DOH) and other agencies issued to govern wearing of face shields aside from face masks.
Read: Where to wear face shields
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said he will appeal the President's decision. He had said that it is not time yet to lift the face shield policy in the country. A previous DOH statement cited studies which showed that face shields provide another layer of protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Most Filipinos, however, wear face shields on top of their heads like a headband, defeating its purpose. Proper wearing of face shields aside from face masks is among the minimum public health standards that the government is enforcing to minimize Covid-19 transmission.
Lawmakers have echoed the call of Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso to lift the face shield policy.
New Covid-19 cases in the Philippines have plateaued at 6,500 per day. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)