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Facing face shields

After Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez pushed for the voluntary wearing of face shields last week, the City of Manila has lifted its mandatory use except in hospitals.

Manila’s City Council is set to sign Executive Order No. 42 to formalize the policy on November 8, as Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has been pushing to stop the mandatory use of face shields since last year, saying there is no scientific basis that proves it could curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Manila Mayor called on business establishments to start accepting patrons who are not donning the additional layer of acetate or acrylic over face masks.

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos also said other mayors in Metro Manila have also agreed to support Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año’s position to stop the use of face shields except in critical areas. He said Metro Manila mayors will submit their position to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the lifting of the face shield requirement.

The Philippines is the only country in the world requiring the use of face shields and yet it is among the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Mandatory face shield use has not stopped the country from having its COVID response being ranked dead last by organizations such as Bloomberg. After almost two years of wasting money on face shields and generating copious amounts of plastic trash, Filipino leaders are finally starting to make a stand versus the unique strategy that is the mandatory face shield.

In areas where face shield use is thankfully no longer mandatory, fans of the plastic device are still free to use it if it makes them feel safer. The rest will still have to wear the face masks that everyone else in the planet have been advised to use as the primary means of protection against COVID-19 transmission. In places where the face shield remains mandatory, we are hopeful that more leaders will also take a second look at the science (or lack thereof) of face shield use as they consider what is best for their communities.*

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