Malacañang yesterday stood by the order to require the wearing of face shields and the establishment of isolation rooms in workplaces amid the Covid-19, stressing that the fight against the pandemic is a “shared responsibility.”
In a virtual Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the remark after business groups asked to exempt factory and office workers from wearing face shields.
Roque said he did not find the wearing of face shields “unreasonable” because their prices have significantly dropped.
He also emphasized that face shields are scientifically proven to be effective in preventing Covid-19 transmission, especially when worn together with face masks.
“If I’m not mistaken, wearing of face mask is 94 percent effective in preventing Covid, face shield provides an additional 3 percent, so the protection given by them being worth together increases to 97 percent,” he said.
Roque, likewise, urged private sectors to coordinate with local government units to allow them to build isolation rooms in barangays where their office or factory can be found following concerns over the lack of space in workplaces.
“If space is a problem, employers may coordinate with local governments to provide space for isolation rooms,” he said.
He said the fight against Covid-19 is a “shared responsibility”, adding that the Labor Code requires employers to have clinics in their workplaces depending on how big their operations are.
“We cannot say that employers, who own the workplaces where transmission of Covid-19 may take place, have no responsibility,” he said.
Under the Labor Code, employers are required to furnish employees with free medical and dental attendance and facilities.
In a letter dated Sept. 21, business groups requested exemption from wearing face shields in offices and factories, arguing that it affects productivity.
“We respectfully take exception to the wearing of face shields inside the office and factories for the rest of our employees, since this can adversely affect their vision, physical safety, and productivity,” the groups said.
The letter was signed by George Barcelon, president emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a private sector representative in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.
The other signatories were Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., PCCI treasurer and president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation; Edgardo Lacson, PCCI auditor, and chair of Employers Confederation of the Philippines; and Francis Chua, PCCI director and chair of the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce.*PNA