The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is mandating the use of face shields, aside from wearing face masks, for all passengers in any mode of public transportation effective August 15, 2020.
In a Memorandum Circular released on August 4, the DOTr, through its Administrative Service, has ordered all officials and heads of its various transportation sectors to enjoin, within their respective jurisdictions, the mandatory wearing of face shields for all passengers in areas where public transportation is allowed.
The initiative aims to further reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 in public transport facilities as health authorities have pointed out that the use of face shields and masks reduces exposure to and emission of respiratory droplets considerably.
“Sa mga kababayan ’ho natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield. Let us remember that no amount of protection is too much when it comes to health and safety, especially that we are battling an invisible enemy. What we are addressing is not a transport issue but rather a health issue. Kaya nga ‘ho hinihingi ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
The directive applies to all public transportation throughout the country, involving the aviation and airports, railways, road, and maritime sectors.
“Ipatutupad po natin ang mandatong ito sa lahat ng pampublikong sasakyan tulad ng sa mga tren, bus, jeepney, taxi, passengers vessels, at maging sa eroplano. I will not elaborate more on the practical benefits the face shield offers, but we know that the use of face coverings and masks for superior protection is adopted widely,” Transportation Undersecretary for Administrative Affairs Artemio Tuazon Jr. said.
Tuazon emphasized that the face shield to be used should sufficiently cover the nose and mouth.
“Mayroon po kasing mga tinatawag na visor, goggles, o ‘yung iba pang protective eyewear that only encloses the eye area. We advise that our passengers use the ones that cover the whole face. It’s actually meant as a redundancy of the protection of the face mask,” the Transportation official added.
Stringent preventive measures are still in effect to contain the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.
These include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and handwashing or hand sanitizing, according to the DOTr.
Talking and using mobile phones are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, it said.
Renato Reyes, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general, said the mandatory wearing of face shields, though recommended or ideal, is anti-poor.
"Ito ay anti-poor. Hindi lahat may access sa face shieds lalo na ang mga mahihirap. Mabuti sana kung libre itong ipapamahagi. Recommended o ideal na may face shields pero mahirap itong gawing mandatory sa panahon na maraming mahihirap, walang pambili o walang access,” he said in a statement.
“Ano ang evaluation na ginawa ng DOTR bago nila nilabas ang memo? Anong pag-aaral nila? Ipakita nga nila. Hirap ang mga kababayan natin. Tulungan natin sila. Hindi yung dagdagan ang requirements nang wala namang katumbas na tulong,” he added.
But DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the mandatory wearing of face shield is not anti-poor as they are protecting the lives of the people.
"Alam n'yo po mas magbebenefit ang ating mga kababayan kung mananatili silang malusog. 'Yung mga nagsasabi na anti-poor daw, dagdag gastusin, ang sinasabi namin mas magbebenefit ang mga kababayan natin kung mananatiling maganda ang kalusugan nila," she said an interview with Dobol B sa News TV.
"Kasi walang katumbas na halaga ang buhay ng tao. Hindi matatawag na anti-poor kapag pinoprotektahan ang buhay ng tao," she added.
She said the DOTr is also considering providing free face shield to the public.—AOL, GMA News