MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday defended the government’s “flip-flopping” policies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is called for by “supervening events” like the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus Delta variant.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the justification after the government waffled on the public’s mandatory use of face shield in less than eight hours on Monday, June 21.
“Wala pong mali mag-flip flop kung meron kasing mga supervening events. Kaya nga po tayo nag ‘flip flop’ kasi meron namang Delta variant. Kaya po tayo nagkaroon ng surge, kasi nagkaroon tayo ng Alpha variant. Depende kung ano ang nadidiskubre ng siyensya, kinakailangan marunong tayo mag-adapt,” Roque said in a press briefing.
(There is nothing wrong with flip-flopping because there are supervening events. We had to “flip flop” because of the Delta variant. We had a surge because of the Alpha variant. Depending on what science discovers, we should know how to adapt.)
“It will continue, the process of adapting, as this disease further develops and mutates, magpapatuloy po ‘yan. At wala pong flip-flopping dyan dahil tayo ay nagpapatupad ng mga proteksyon alinsunod na rin sa kung paano nag mutate ang virus,” he added.
(It will continue, the process of adapting, as this disease further develops and mutates, that will continue. And there’s no flip-flopping there because we’re just implementing policies to protect ourselves in accordance with how the virus mutates.)
Around noon Monday, Roque himself announced in a press briefing that the use of a face shield will no longer be required when people are outdoors. Around evening of the same day, however, Roque announced that people should still use a face shield while indoors and outdoors.
Only last week, President Rodrigo Duterte told lawmakers that face shields should only be required in hospitals – which Roque subsequently confirmed and even explained that what the President declares is as good as a state policy
But Duterte later on clarified that he was just “shooting the breeze” with lawmakers at the time and denied saying with finality that the government will do away with face shields.
To recall, the Department of Health confirmed since May the detection of the coronavirus variant that first surfaced in India – eventually named Delta variant – which the World Health Organization (WHO) also declared that month as the variant “a global concern.”