Isko Moreno Says Manila to Remain Face Shield-Free

'If they are not happy, they can go to court,' the mayor said.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said Tuesday he was standing by his order to lift the face shield mandate in the capital city, adding those who insist on keeping the plastic gear mandatory can take him to court.

Moreno was responding to Malacañang's call for mayors to enforce the face shield rule until the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 finishes its review of the national policy. He had described the bureaucracy of decision-nmaking as "analyze, paralyze".

"Yes we will. Because under existing laws, we are empowered by those provisions to protect the interest of our people," Moreno told ANC when asked if he would keep his executive order.

"If they are not happy, they can go to court and ask for declaratory relief. I don't want to teach them what to do, but we need to do what we have to do as mayors. We need to protect the interest of our people," he added.

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Moreno, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, said his decision to make wearing of face shields voluntary should not be seen as an act of defiance against Malacañang.

He said the president only has the power to supervise, not control LGUs under the Local Government Code, and autonomy is granted to local governments by the Constitution.

"It's just a practice of power within our territorial jurisdiction as stated and mandated by law," he said.

Moreno said the face shield policy was "not science-based" as he recalled asking authorities to study the effects or benefits of using the protective gear against COVID-19 in a public setting.

Instead of imposing the face shield policy, the government should pour funds into buying medicines that could help treat COVID-19 patients like remdesivir and tocilizumab.

"What is important is tayo ay mag-mask, tayo ay magpabakuna," he added.

Metro Manila mayors have agreed to call for the scrapping of the face shield requirement in the capital region, which is subject to the approval of the IATF.

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The Department of Health said it would meet with experts late Monday to update the current review of evidence for face shield use. The department will then make its recommendation to the IATF by Thursday, Nov. 11.


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