Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to have a clear, unified policy on the use of face shields to avoid public confusion.
Citing different policies by local government units (LGUs) on the use of face shields, Gatchalian said there needs to be a uniform policy on their use, especially if scientific findings establish their effectiveness in mitigating the surge of COVID-19 infections.
“Hindi naman pwedeng pagpunta mo sa Taguig mandatory ang face shield tapos pagpunta mo sa Valenzuela hindi naman pala required. Ang konsepto nga dito ay mabawasan natin yung risk in the entire country. Wala pang patakaran ngayon, and I’m calling on IATF na magkaroon na ng uniformed policy on face shields because people are confused,” said Gatchalian.
Though the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued their respective guidelines on the mandatory use of face shields, the IATF is yet to finalize whether the use of face shields will be required in all public places.
Since August 15, the DOTr has required all passengers using public transportation to wear both face masks and face shields, through Memorandum Circular 2020-014. The DTI and the DOLE also issued Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 20-04-A or the “DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19,” which mandates the use of face shields as part of public health standards in all workplaces.
“Tignan natin kung ano yung risk reduction ng face shield, then by all means dapat nating ipatupad ‘yan. But the next question is affordability. Ang cost ng face shields iba-iba, may 50 pesos may 100 pesos, may 200 pesos and that becomes an affordability issue sa ating mga kababayan,” Gatchalian stressed.
Under Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum 2020-0345-A, the suggested retail price (SRP) for face shields is between P26-P50. These are the face shields for community use and are non-medical grade. The DOH memorandum requires that face shields be made of clear plastic or acetate materials that are fog-resistant and can provide good visibility. They may or may not have an adjustable band as long as they are attached firmly around the head and can fully cover the face.
“At this point ang 50 pesos ay malaki na rin lalo na kung bibilihan mo yung buong pamilya mo. It will cost you 300 to 400 pesos so, it becomes an issue,” he added.
The DTI, for its part, had said that the SRP for a piece of face shield should not exceed P50.
According to the DOH, face shields should not be used as a substitute for face masks. The DOH added that face shields should only be used with masks as added protection.