MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Allan Velasco has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the mandatory use of face shields as an added protection against COVID-19.
In a letter to the President dated September 20, Velasco said the face shield requirement only poses an added financial burden to Filipinos who are already struggling economically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Velasco also cited the absence of solid medical proof that the use of plastic face shields is effective against COVID-19 transmission.
“The use of face shields has made little difference in protecting against the transmission of COVID-19 over the proper use of masks alone, and imposes an additional burden to poor Filipino families already reeling from the adverse effect of the pandemic on their livelihood,” Velasco pointed out.
In his letter, Velasco recommended that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) to reconsider the policy for the general public when going out of their homes or indoors, including in malls, commercial establishments, and public transportation.
Velasco cited the latest survey conducted by the World Bank entitled COVID-19 Low Income Household Panel and Economic (HOPE) showing the impact of the pandemic on the poorest households.
He said: “COVID-19 has worsened hunger among Filipinos. The cost of a face shield of about P20 to P50 is already a substantial amount equivalent to the cost of a meal for these poor Filipinos.”
Also, he noted that the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend the use of face shields, only for those providing direct care to patients with COVID-19.
He added that based on studies conducted by physician-researchers of Wayne State University School of Medicine, combining the use of face shields and masks made little difference over the use of masks alone.
Even in the Philippine context, Velasco said that combining the use of face shields and masks made little difference over the use of masks alone which poses doubt on the efficacy of the use of face shields.