Cebu News

Wearing of face shield in public transport a go

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-7 clarified on Wednesday that the mandatory wearing of face shield among passengers of public utility vehicles will push through on August 15, 2020 as ordered by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

LTFRB made the clarification following reports that the implementation of the order was suspended.

Region 7 Director Eduardo Montealto, Jr. said what was suspended is LTFRB’s own memorandum that was issued on Tuesday, August 4, which said that the face shield directive would take effect immediately.

LTFRB issued its memo prior to the release of the DOTr memo.

The conflict in the date of implementation was settled during a meeting Wednesday morning, and that the DOTr memorandum prevails.

“Mo align gyud mi sa date of implementation on August 15 as mandated by DOTr,” Montealto said.

(We will have to align with the date of implementation on August 15 as mandated by DOTr.)

DOTr said all passengers using any mode of public transportation have to wear a face shield, aside from face mask, effective August 15, 2020.

In a Memorandum Circular released on August 5, 2020, the DOTr, through its Administrative Service, ordered all officials and heads of its various transportation sectors to enjoin, within their respective jurisdictions, the mandatory wearing of face shields for all passengers in areas where public transportation is allowed.

According to DOTr, the initiative aims to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) further in public transport facilities.

Health authorities have pointed out that the use of face shields and masks reduces exposure to and emission of respiratory droplets considerably.

“Sa mga kababayan ’ho natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield (To our citizens, let us not think of this as additional burden). 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. Kaya nga ‘ho hinihingi ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa (This is why I’m asking for everyone’s cooperation),” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The directive applies to all public transportation throughout the country, including aviation and airports, railways, road, and maritime sectors.

“Ipatutupad po natin ang mandatong ito sa lahat ng pampublikong sasakyan tulad ng sa mga tren, bus, jeepney, taxi, passengers vessels at maging sa eroplano (We will enforce this directive in all public vehicles like trains, jeepneys, taxis, passenger vessels, and even planes). I will not elaborate more on the practical benefits the face shield offers, but we know that the use of face coverings and masks for superior protection is adopted widely,” DOTr Undersecretary for Administrative Affairs Artemio Tuazon Jr. also said.

Tuazon clarifies that the face shield to be used should cover the nose and mouth sufficiently.

“Mayroon po kasing mga tinatawag na visor, goggles, o ‘yung iba pang protective eyewear that only encloses the eye area (There are those called visors or goggles that protect only the eye area). We advise that our passengers use the ones that cover the whole face. It’s actually meant as a redundancy of the protection of the face mask,” Usec. Tuazon adds.

Meanwhile, stringent preventive measures are still in effect to contain the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities. These include the mandatory wearing of mask, strict enforcement of social distancing measures, and handwashing or hand sanitizing.

DOTr said further that talking and using mobile phones are also discouraged in all public transportation. — JMO (FREEMAN)



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