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Mandatory wearing of face shields in public transportation to be required soon

Wearing of face shields aside from face masks will soon be required for all passengers using public transportation, according to a Department of Transportation memorandum circular.

Memorandum Circular No. 2020-014, dated August 3, was signed by Artemio Tuazon Jr, officer in charge and DOTr Undersecretary for administrative service, and sent to undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and heads of sectoral offices and attached agencies and corporations.

It stated that as instructed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, all officials or heads of various transportation sectors are mandated to enjoin within their respective jurisdictions the mandatory use of face shields and face masks for all public transportation passengers.

It will be effective August 15, 2020.

“In line with this, the official/s concerned are required to issue the necessary announcements to properly inform the riding public of the above-mentioned mandate,” it stated.

Sought for comment, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the document is an internal memorandum addressed to DOTr officials and attached agency heads and yet to be discussed by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.

“The start of implementation is yet to be discussed/coordinated/cleared with the IATF,” she said.

She added once the IATF has discussed the matter, DOTr will release an official statement later in the afternoon or tomorrow morning.

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.

On Friday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government is considering requiring citizens to wear face shields while in a public place as an added protection against COVID-19.

"Ngayon po, pinag-aaralan din po ngayon... 'yung wearing of face shields. Ito po yung isa pang mga kino-consider ng IATF na i-encourage na rin ang ating mga kababayan as an extra step para lumakas ang prevention at maiwasan ang transmission," Lopez said during the Laging Handa briefing.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said the wearing of face shield is "highly recommended" as it is part of "minimum health standards" to be observed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Magkakaroon po tayo ng stringent enforcement of minimum health standards. Ito po ‘yung hugas kamay, suot ng mask at social distancing, at pagsuot na rin…ng face shield,” Roque said.

He said the IATF’s initial discussion on the use of face shields to complement wearing of face masks in public focused on low ventilation settings such as public transportation.

“Studies have shown that wearing face shields, in addition to wearing masks and physical distancing, would further reduce virus transmission in low ventilation settings,” Roque said.—AOL, GMA News