Speaker Velasco asks Duterte to reconsider face shield mandate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the mandatory use of face shields in public.

In a letter to the President dated Sept. 20, Velasco said the use of face shields is only an additional financial burden to poor families.

"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 said.

"The cost of a face shield of about ₱20 to ₱50 is already a substantial amount of equivalent to the cost of a meal for these poor Filipinos, and mandatory requirement of the same takes away money for food from these families," he added.

Velasco also said disposable face shields add to the "worsening" garbage problem in the country.

READ: Face shields can absorb COVID-19 airborne particles, simulation shows

The President only required the use of face shields in hospitals after Senate President Tito Sotto said the Philippines was the only the country that requires its use in public. However, Malacañang retracted it and again mandated the wearing of face shields.

Velasco told Duterte to just require face shields inside hospitals and quarantine facilities. He added that wearing of face masks, proper handwashing, disinfecting of surfaces, and proper ventilation are already enough measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission in other parts of the world.

"Please reconsider our current policy that requires our poor kababayans to buy and wear a piece of plastic shield over their already masked faces," Velasco said.