AN OFFICIAL from the Davao City Covid-19 Task Force said the City Government is waiting for the updated guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on the lifting of the mandatory outdoor use of face shields.
This after President Rodrigo Duterte issued the directive on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, although he clarified that it will still be required but only in areas under the 3C category: crowded, closed and close contact.
Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said in an interview that they have yet to receive the IATF guidelines on the revised policy on the wearing of face shields.
Schlosser, however, said the City already has an existing executive order on the mandatory wearing of face shields.
According to Executive Order (EO) No. 65-A issued in December 2020, the City mandates the wearing of face shields to all passengers in public transportation, in accordance with the Department of Transportation Memorandum Circular No. 2020-014 dated August 3, 2020.
Face shields are also required in private establishments "regardless of economic activity including economic zones."
Also, the EO adopted the IATF Resolution No. 68, series of 2020 dated September 3, 2020, which mandates the wearing of face shields with face masks in supermarkets, public markets, malls and in venues where government-initiated meetings and critical government services are being conducted or provided.
The mandatory wearing of face shields is also mandated at the Davao City Police Office and all its camps and police stations.
City Government offices are also mandated to require their employees and clients/visitors to wear face masks and face shields inside their buildings and rooms.
In Resolution 88 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases issued on December 14, 2021, wearing of face shield is required "whenever persons go out of their residences" as added protection against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Unless Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will issue a revised EO, Schlosser said the earlier policies on the wearing of face shields will remain.
The use of face shields as personal protective equipment (PPE) has been debated and questioned since the start of the pandemic. Some argued that the face shield has little protection against the virus while some health experts have also pointed out its inefficiency to protect against Covid-19.
Schlosser said this has also been a constant discussion with the Task Force.
In her personal opinion, she said face shields are non-pharmacological interventions that can help reduce Covid-19 infections.
"An additional protection from this virus is all OK. Para sa akoa, kon added protection ang face shield and sa mga (if face shields can add protection against) droplets, that's also good," she said.
The spokesperson also emphasized that based on the guidelines from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), local government units (LGUs) are given authority to issue their own mandate.
"Even if the other LGUs or the national government said na dili na sila mugamit og face shield (that face shields will no longer be needed), based on the DILG guidelines, the local government unit can actually have their own mandate. They can create management, they can have their own management suited for their own LGU," Schlosser said.
While other countries do not use face shields and some parts of the country are not strict in their mandatory wearing, the official said this does not mean that the city will be adopting these policies. This is also true to the city's existing policies, which might not also apply to other areas.