Duterte apologizes for confusion over face shield policy
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday apologized to the public for the confusion over the government’s policy on the use of face shields.
He was referring to reports that he had agreed to do away with the mandatory use of face shields outdoors and only require it in hospitals. He made the pronouncement during a meeting with lawmakers in Malacañang last week.
His pronouncement was announced by Senate President Vicente Sotto III in a Twitter post last week.
“I will apologize to the Filipino people. This thing was being discussed openly and many thought that we were ready to do away with the face mask,” he said in his pre-recorded weekly briefing on Monday night.
Duterte said he was just “shooting the breeze” with the lawmakers but he said he “never said with finality” that the government will stop requiring the use of face shields outdoors.
He also said it was only a “casual chat” further apologizing for discussing the matter “in public.”
He maintained that the wearing of face shields would still be required at all times, whether indoors or outdoors,” acknowledging the Delta variant “poses a very grave danger.”
“It’s a small inconvenience, actually,” Duterte said. “I know that it is inconvenient really to be wearing the mask, adjusting it from time to time. But that is only a very small price to pay — rather than gamble with doing away with it and courting disaster.”
He also said the country could not afford a second wave of COVID-19 infections as it might be far worse than the first.
“It would be a disaster for our country,” Duterte said, referring to the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
Duterte accepted the recommendation of the health experts, particularly the government’s advisory group, to retain the mandatory wearing of face shields indoors and outdoors.
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