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PRRD is concerned about Omicron and once again recommends the usage of face shields.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Tuesday that he was concerned about the likelihood of another outbreak of Covid-19 infections due to the Omicron strain, stressing that government coffers were low.

After Health Secretary Francisco Duque III revealed his department has recorded at least three imported Omicron cases in the Philippines, he issued this statement.

“Ang ano ko lang is kung (My only concern is if) it’ll be as awful as the past infections, medyo natatakot lang ako.” You know, kinakabahan ako kasi (I’m just afraid here). He added in his regular Talk to the People, “You know, I’m nervous because) —- let me be honest with the public, drained nga ‘yung pera ng Pilipinas (the Philippine coffers are depleted), while coping with the mounting bills for the typhoon victims.”

He, on the other hand, expressed optimism about deploying monies from the country’s national budget for 2022.

“Ni-walis nga kung ano pang matira, ubusin na lang (It got swept, whatever’s left, we’ll simply use it),” he added.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles stated at a Palace press briefing on Wednesday that the government still has money to spend on both Typhoon Odette and the Covid-19 response.

He went on to say that Duterte has pledged to raise PHP10 billion for the typhoon victims.

“Yes, we have money, and the President has already mandated that number one ‘yong sa PHP10 billion nga na kinakailangan (number one is the PHP10 billion that we require),” he said.

Nograles highlighted that Duterte’s comment was just intended to tell the people that finding cash is “not an easy task,” and that the government is doing all possible to help typhoon-affected districts.

“If you listen to the President’s talks, he says that we spent so much on Covid initiatives, so much on vaccines, and ito meron na namang (and there’s a new) issue, itong (this) Typhoon Odette.” But we in the government, in his administration, would search for all possible solutions to all of the issues, worries, and lahat ng mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan (all of our fellow Filipinos’ demands),” he said.

Keep your face shields on.

Even though face shields were no longer required in places under Alert Level 2, Duterte urged the public to continue wearing them on top of their face masks.

“Honestly, I believe that our folks’ compliance in the subject of carefully enforcing the masks is one. And when someone —- while it’s not a well-studied idea, I’d venture to guess that, in addition to the [masks], that shield will add another layer of protection,” he said.

He stated that he “firmly thought” that face shields contributed to a reduction in Covid-19 instances across the country.

“I am convinced that wearing the face shield made a significant difference. I can’t say by how much or by what percentage, but it’s just a gut feeling na ‘yung kasi tayo —- mababa na tayo ngayon (we just have a few cases right now),” he remarked.

The National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) previously stated that it is considering reintroducing the mandatory face shield policy to assist combat the spread of new Covid-19 strains.

Duterte lifted the mandated use of face shields on November 15, making them only optional in regions with Alert Levels 1 to 3.

In regions where the Alert Level is 4, local government units (LGUs) and private enterprises have discretion over the face shield policy.

Face shields are only necessary in situations with an Alert Level 5 and closed, crowded, and close contact (3Cs), such as hospitals and other medical facilities.

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