Philippines Report

Public transport commuters required to wear face shields from Aug. 15

Samar provincial government has issued an executive order requiring all residents to wear face shields outdoor

The Department of Transport announced today that all passengers of public transportation will be required to wear shields starting Aug. 15.

In a memo dated Aug. 4 and made public today, the Transport Department encouraged its officials “to enjoin, within their respective jurisdictions, the mandatory wearing of face shields for all passengers in areas where public transportation is allowed.”

The department said this was necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus among passengers of public transport. Filipinos are also required to wear face masks when out in public.

“To our countrymen, don’t think that using a face shield is just an additional expense or another hassle. 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,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said in English and Filipino in a statement.

Face shields will be required for all passengers of vehicles such as jeepneys, buses, trains, taxis, and even airplanes. Goggles or visors are not recommended; the government requires a shield that covers the entire face.

Meanwhile, activist Renato Reyes Jr. lambasted the government’s announcement, saying that ordinary Filipinos do not have the means necessary to buy the shields.

Reyes said in an online post, “Why did they make face shields mandatory when people have no money and access to face shields? It’s fine if the government can give free face shields. But it doesn’t. They should help people instead of adding to the requirements.”

Public transport has been temporarily suspended in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan after the reimposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine, which is scheduled to end on Aug. 18. The said areas reverted to a stricter quarantine after health workers asked for a “time out” so that the government could come up with a better strategy in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of yesterday, the country has logged a total of 112,593 COVID-19 cases, with 2,115 deaths and 66,049 recoveries.

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