Farm work still requires face masks, shields in Bulacan | Inquirer News

Farm work still requires face masks, shields in Bulacan

/ 02:49 PM August 29, 2020

CITY OF MALOLOS – Farmers and fishermen are not exempted from an ordinance requiring every Bulacan resident and worker to wear face masks and face shields in public, but only when they are working in groups.

Rice fields and rivers are defined as public places in Provincial Ordinance No. 89-2020, a health regulation that was approved on Thursday by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Bulacan Provincial Board) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Farmers and fishermen need both a mask and shield because some are unable to observe physical distancing when they are out in the fields or in the sea, said lawyer Emily Isidro-Viceo, a board member who serves as vice chair of the health committee.

“However, if they are alone, they need not wear them,” she said. The ordinance stipulates that farmers and fishermen and other workers with similar occupations may take the masks off in the workplace, provided it would not violate other public health protocols.


The ordinance affects 30,000 farmers who tend to about 90,000 hectares of farms in Bulacan, and 2,000 fishermen operating in provincial waters that span 20 hectares.

Pol Fajardo, president of Bulacan Provincial Agricultural and Fisheries Council, said his members will heed the new law, once it is signed by Gov. Daniel Fernando. The original version of the measure would have made field workers don masks and shields even when working alone, he said.

The ordinance also exempts motorcycle riders from wearing face shield while on the road provided their helmets are closed. They need to wear face masks while driving.

Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, Bulacan public health officer, said face masks provide 80 percent protection from the virus. Adding the shield gives an individual full protection, she said, unless these devices are improvised or are made of materials that would not filter infected particles.

Violators would be issued a citation ticket, and could be fined P1,000 for their first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for a third offense.

Government officials and employees who violate the ordinance will also face administrative charges.

As of Saturday, Bulacan has 2,670 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,354 recoveries, 3,325 suspected cases and 69 deaths. CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE

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TAGS: Bulacan, COVID-19, face mask, Health, Philippines, Regions
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