November 10, 2021

The Palace advises local governments to follow Duterte’s existing face shield policy.

On Tuesday, Malacanang urged all local government units (LGUs) to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s current policy on the use of face shields in the Philippines.

This follows the signing of an executive order (EO) by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso restricting the mandatory use of face shields to “hospital settings, medical clinics, and other medical facilities.”

LGUs should wait for the final decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), which will also be approved by Duterte, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque warned that if any LGU issues a new face shield policy, the public may disregard Duterte’s directive to continue wearing it in enclosed spaces.

“Hindi pupuwede kasing nagkakaniya-kaniya sa panahon ng pandemya,” he said in an online press briefing. “Respect na lang sa ating Presidente dahil lahat naman po ng desisyon ng IATF ay desisyon ng Presidente (Just respect the President because all of the IATF’s decisions are also the President’s decisions).”

Despite Malacaang’s opposition to his EO, Domagoso said he has no intention of revoking it.

The Local Government Code allows every LGU to “exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare,” according to Domagoso.

Local chief executives, on the other hand, must follow the proper procedure, according to Roque, to ensure that the IATF-EID policies are followed.

“Pupuwede ng balewalain ang mga IATF policies, baka isipin ng lahat ng ating mamamayan.” If ang mga mayor mismo ay hindi sumusunod, papaano ngayon susunod ang mga mamamayan. So sa akin po ay idaan sa tamang proceso at maghintay naman po (People may believe it is acceptable to disregard IATF policies.) What will the people do if mayors refuse to comply? So, for me, I’ll just go through the motions and wait for the decision),” he explained.

Roque, who also serves as a spokesperson for the IATF-EID, said the task force would meet on Thursday to discuss the plan to eliminate the requirement for wearing a face mask in public places.

He also promised that the IATF-EID would take into account all input from interested parties, including local chief executives.

“So, sa akin po kung ayaw niyo talagang sumunod, pagpapakita lang ng respeto sa proceso dahil pinakikinggan naman po ang boses ng lahat,” Roque said.

To control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, the IATF-EID issued Resolution 88 on December 14, 2020, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places (Covid-19).

Duterte ordered the public to wear face shields only in hospitals in June this year, but after the presence of the more infectious Delta Covid-19 variant, he decided to stick to the IATF-original EID’s policy.

In September of this year, he announced that the use of face shields would be limited to the “3Cs,” or “closed and crowded spaces, and close contact.”

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