Bong Go

Bong Go backs limited use of face shields

September 23, 2021 People's Tonight 605 views

SENATOR and Senate Committee on Health Chairman Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for a proposal to limit the use of face shields to only high-risk activities, adding that government should strike a careful balance between safety, comfort and economic considerations when recalibrating its COVID-19 pandemic policies.

“Pag-aralan natin kung pwede nang gawing voluntary ang pagsusuot ng face shield sa mga lugar na mababa naman ang risk of infection. Baka pwedeng hindi na gawing mandatory kung hindi naman closed or crowded ang isang lugar na walang close contact ang mga tao sa isa’t isa,” Go explained.

“Dalawang taon na itong pandemya. Baka napapanahon na gawin natin ito para makahinga ng konti ang mga Pilipino at mapagaan ang hirap na kanilang dinadala. Ang importante naman ay protektado pa rin dahil, una sa lahat, ay buhay ng mga Pilipino ang ating prayoridad,” he further said.

Go also emphasized that as the government fast tracks its vaccine rollout, wearing of face shields can be considered non-mandatory especially for fully vaccinated individuals.

“Ang pangunahing proteksyon naman natin ay ang mask at ang bakuna. Dagdag proteksyon ang face shield pero pwede nang hindi gawing mandatory yan kung mababa naman ang risk ayon sa mga eksperto,” he said.

As the country slowly reopens the economy, Go also mentioned that wearing of face shields must not hinder the performance of their functions in their workplace.

“Paminsan kasi nakakadagdag lang sa pasakit ng ordinaryong manggagawa ang pagsuot ng face shield. Nakaka-apekto rin sa trabaho,” he said.

“Kaya uulitin ko, kung hindi naman crowded, hindi naman closed space, at wala namang close contact, payagan na nating hindi sila magface shield kung ligtas naman,” he reiterated.

Go acknowledged that there have been proposals for the government to relax its face shield-wearing policy by limiting the mandatory use of face shields during high-risk activities under the so-called “3 Cs” (closed, crowded and close contact) framework.

These include activities in settings wherein there is exposure risk such as those that may need close contact based on nature of work. Also included are those prone to crowding such as in establishments, public transportation, indoor spaces, personal care services, and other similar instances where high risk of infection is possible or present.

Go also echoed the recommendation for the voluntary use of the face shield on top of masks in other settings not earlier specified, especially in Alert 3, 4, and 5 areas in the country.

“Kahit luwagan ang face-shield wearing policy, huwag pa rin tayo maging kampante dahil delikado pa ang panahon. Dagdag na proteksyon ang face shield kaya kung maaari, konting tiis lang po. Magsuot pa rin tayo kung hindi naman ito sagabal sa ating trabaho,” he added.

Last June 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte defended the policy, saying “(W)ith the kind of aggressive infection that poses a very grave danger to…it’s a small inconvenience, actually. I know that it is inconvenient really to be wearing the mask (and face shield), adjusting it from time to time. But that is only a very small price to pay than rather gamble with doing away with it and courting disaster.”

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine was also reported explaining that the triple layer of protection involving face shields, masks and physical distancing can significantly reduce the risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

Meanwhile, Go also appealed to authorities and experts to expedite their study on the possibility of inoculating minors as the pilot face to face classes in low risk areas have been approved.

“Bilisan na ang pag-aaral natin. Tutal, tuluy-tuloy naman ang pagdating ng mga bakuna at meron na ring mga bansa ang dahan-dahang nagbabakuna ng kanilang mga kabataan,” Go appealed.

Some experts are suggesting that the government may begin vaccinating minors with comorbidities aged 12 to 17 years, as classified by the Philippine Pediatric Society.

“Dahan dahan nating binubuksan ang ating paaralan para sa face-to-face classes sa mga piling lugar. Pero siguraduhin nating hindi napapasa ang burden sa mga kabataan at dapat siguraduhing nabibigyan din sila ng kaukulang proteksyon,” Go also noted.

As of September 21, a total of 42.13 million Filipinos were inoculated with 23.1 million of them getting their first dose while an additional 19.02 million individuals having completed the vaccination.