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Despite Duterte comment, IATF fights to retain use of face shields 

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Despite Duterte comment, IATF fights to retain use of face shields 
In this photo taken on September 2, 2020, a church volunteer (R) wearing a face shield gives communion to Catholics during Mass inside a church in Manila.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The pandemic task force on Thursday moved to keep the use of face shields as government policy, after President Rodrigo Duterte told senators that it should only be worn in hospitals. 

The Palace earlier today confirmed exchanges between Duterte and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on the rule that has since faced growing calls to end.

In a statement, spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF will propose to the president to retain the mandatory use of face shields in enclosed or indoor spaces.

That would count when inside hospitals, schools, workplaces, as well as in commercial establishments, public transport and in places of worship.

"While waiting for the President's decision on the matter, the existing policy on the use of face shields remains in effect," said Roque, who admitted in his briefing today that "what the president says becomes policy."

Health authorities have insisted that face shields on top of face masks provide additional protection against COVID-19.

It was first made mandatory in December 2020, but some have urged government to drop its use.

Sotto in this week's Senate hearing had asked Health chief Francisco Duque III if they are already considering it. To which, Duque said they will study it once a significant number of the population is already vaccinated. 

Adding to the growing debate were the remarks of treatment czar Leopoldo Vega in saying that face shields can be removed when outdoors. 

The Department of Health later on sought to clarify that such had long been a "standing policy" by the government.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FACE SHIELDS RODRIGO DUTERTE VICENTE SOTTO III
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