Muntinlupa eases face shield policy, joins other LGUs defying Malacañang

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Muntinlupa eases face shield policy, joins other LGUs defying Malacañang
A jeepney passenger wears a face shield over a surgical mask in Ba- guio City on Aug. 5, 2020.
The STAR / Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Muntinlupa on Friday announced that it is no longer requiring the use of face shields in most areas. 

"All persons found in the City of Muntinlupa shall no longer be required to wear face shield outside of residence and in any public or private establishments, except in hospitals and clinics," an ordinance issued by the local government unit reads. 

The LGU said it decided to relax the requirement "due to the high percentage of vaccinated individuals and the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases." 

The use of face shields to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines has also long been criticized as a policy lacking scientific evidence. The health department insists, however, that the policy is guided by science and expert medical opinion. 

The move from Muntinlupa comes amid an ongoing debate between Malacañang and LGUs over who has the final say on public health measures, including the use of face shields sparked by Mayor Isko Moreno's lifting of the requirement in the City of Manila. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque argued during a public briefing that Moreno's order was "null and void" due to a standing requirement from the national pandemic task force to retain the mandatory use of face shields in indoor and crowded areas.

Moreno, however, stood by his relaxed face shield policy, challenging Malacañang to take the issue to court. 

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas waded into the debate on Thursday, reminding Roque that "the Local Government Code provides that local governments have local autonomy,” disputing the latter's "theory that all LGUs must follow the chain of command." 

INTERAKSYON: ‘LGUs have local autonomy,’ Palace official told amid face shield rule debate

Aside from Iloilo, Manila and Muntinlupa, the cities of Cebu, Davao, and Tarlac have relaxed face shield mandates in their jurisdictions. 

As early as November 2, Roque said the pandemic task force was revisiting the scrapping of its face shield requirement but has yet to come out with a final decision. 

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