Face shield requirement is anti-poor if not given free – Bayan
MANILA, Philippines — A Department of Transportation (DOTr) proposal to require commuters to wear face shields reeks of an anti-poor policy if the government would not give free protective gadgets, an activist group claimed.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said on Wednesday that this is because not all people can afford to buy face shields, especially now that a lot of workers have little to no income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes admitted that using such devices would be ideal and preferable, it would be hard to implement because the poor would have no access to it.
“Ito ay anti-poor. Hindi lahat may access sa face shields lalo na ang mga mahihirap. Mabuti sana kung libre itong ipapamahagi,” Reyes said in a message to reporters.
(This is anti-poor. Not all have access to face shields, especially the poor. It would be good if they would distribute free face shields.)
“Recommended o ideal na may face shields pero mahirap itong gawing mandatory sa panahon na madaming mahihirap, walang pambili o walang access,” he added.
(Wearing face shields is recommended or ideal but it would be hard to make it mandatory in a time where a lot of people are struggling financially when people have no income and no access to buy these.)
Last July 31, the Department of Trade and Industry said that they are mulling imposing a mandatory wearing of face shields to curb the rising COVID-19 infections in the country.
Then on Tuesday, DOTr announced that people using public utility vehicles would have to wear face shields starting August 15. In a Facebook post earlier, DOTr said that the policy was created through a Memorandum Circular crafted Tuesday.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade pleaded to the public not to view the initiative as another expense as it would be an additional layer of protection against the pandemic.
“Sa mga kababayan ’ho natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield. 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,” Tugade said.
(For my countrymen, I hope we do not think of the required wearing of face shields as another form of expense or additional trouble.)
“What we are addressing is not a transport issue but rather a health issue. Kaya nga ‘ho hinihingi ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa,” he added.
(That’s why we are asking for the cooperation of each one.)
But for Reyes, there should be a concrete study before DOTr releases another regulation which would only add more burden to the people.
“Ano ang evaluation na ginawa ng DOTR bago nila nilabas ang memo? Anong pag-aaral nila? Ipakita nga nila. Hirap ang mga kababayan natin. Tulungan natin sila. Hindi yung dagdagan ang requirements nang wala namang katumbas na tulong,” Reyes said.
The confirmed COVID-19 cases the country has continued to increase. As of Wednesday, there are now 115,980 confirmed patients — of which, 2,123 have died while 66,270 have recovered. [ac]
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