Two days after President Duterte declared that the use of face shields is still mandatory, Senate President Vicente Sotto III called for an investigation on how effective they are in preventing the transmission of COVID-19—and asked which genius had fooled the government.
Sotto on Wednesday filed Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 757 that directs the Senate committee of the whole to investigate, in aid of legislation, the efficacy of wearing face shields.
“Wearing face shield is not among the recommended protocol from world health experts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19...For the marginalized and the poor, a face shield is very costly for something that does not afford protection against the virus. Our people should rather invest in a proper mask that is scientifically proven to protect them from the virus,” the resolution said.
Earlier, the senator expressed dismay over the government’s flip-flopping on the issue.
“Sinong genius ang nambola sa gobyerno? (Which genius fooled the government?)” Sotto asked reporters.
Some senators agreed that certain businesses are raking in profits from the government’s decision to keep the use of face shields mandatory.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said that is “in the realm of possibilities” considering all the inconsistencies and conflicting statements of those in charge of the handling of the country’s pandemic response.
He noted that the track record and pattern of misuse and mishandling of public funds and other similar issues involving key government agencies did nothing to erase the negative public attitude toward the government’s COVID-19 response.
Sotto said people cannot help but suspect something is wrong.
He said even the brief sent by the Department of Health showed that no other country in the world mandates the use of face shields on top of face masks.
“It’s either or in most countries,” he said, noting that shields on top of masks were an unnecessary expense and a discomfort.
Senator Joel Villanueva, on the other hand, said the debate should move past face shields and focus instead on the lack of vaccines.
“We’ve been told to endure the inconvenience of face shields until we reach herd immunity. We should view this issue from this perspective,” he said.
He said the more people are vaccinated, the sooner the public can drop face shields, and even face masks, in certain conditions.