(UPDATE) Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said on Monday he scrapped the mandatory use of face shields in the Philippines' capital city, ahead of the results of a review of the national policy on face coverings.
Wearing face shields will only be required in hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities, according to the executive order. Davao City and Iloilo City last week made wearing of face shields voluntary.
"For now, this is not mandatory anymore. 'Yung inyong mga kahilingan sa akin, ang inyong mga sulat at messages na pag-aralan maigi 'yung paggamit ng face shield ay ito na po, dininig na po ng inyong lingkod," he said.
"Ang kailangan na lang natin gawin ay mag-face mask para naman kahit papaano maibisan ang inyong gastusin araw-araw dahil sa face shield na 'yan."
Malacañang on Monday told mayors to stick to the IATF national policy on face shields unless told to do otherwise. The Department of Health also urged local governments to keep wait for the results of a study on whether wearing of the plastic gear should be made voluntary.
"Will implement today," Moreno told reporters, responding to Malacañang and DOH's statements.
Moreno urged the national government to scrap the face shield rule as early as June, citing its added burden on the pockets of struggling Filipinos. He also issued a public plea in September for the goverment to purchase more medicines and stop the implementation of the face shield mandate.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that require face shields on top of face masks. As vaccinations increase, some experts have said that face masks would be enough as long is it effectively covers the nose and the mouth.
In September, President Rodrigo Duterte dropped the face shield requirement in outdoor areas. At around the same time, a Senate investigation showed that the government appeared to have favored a face shield supplier that sold the plastic gear at a premium during the start of the pandemic. Authorities denied irregularities.