Baguio mayor favors amendment of face shield ordinance, explains following ease up procedures

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Mayor Benjamin Magalong has requested the city council to consider amending the ordinance mandating the wearing of face shields in the city to limit its use in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-critical areas like hospitals and isolation centers.

In a letter dated Nov. 8, 2021 to Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, the mayor said the city can now consider relaxing the face shield use requirement after attaining 71.18 percent full vaccination accomplishment in adult target population which can still go as high as 90 percent by year end.

Apart from this, the city has also begun to see a steady downtrend in cases prompting the easing up of restrictions and reopening of more economic activities.

The mayor said a similar suggestion is now being tackled in the national level by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Technical Working Group (IATF-EID).

“As some restrictions are gradually eased in consonance with increasing numbers of vaccination individuals, this move may be a welcome change for our citizens after nearly two years of dealing with this pandemic,” he noted.

The face shield requirement is incorporated in Ordinance No. 49 series of 2021, which amended Ordinance No. 45-2020 or the Face Mask Ordinance of Baguio City.

The measure declares it “unlawful” for all persons, including tourists and outsiders, to go to public places, buildings, national roads or highway, sidewalks, walkways, or public conveyances or other similar establishments without wearing face mask and face shield until the threat of the COVID-19 is completely eliminated in the country.

The ordinance also prohibits transacting business with any person not wearing a face mask and a face shield in the public markets, supermarkets, groceries, malls, shopping centers, and government offices.

Violators face penalties of fines ranging from P500 to P2,000 and cancellation of business permit if applicable.

Meanwhile, unlike his counterparts in other parts of the country, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has opted to follow procedures in easing up the face shield requirement.

The mayor said he will not toe the line of other local government unit heads who revoked the face shield requirement on their own without waiting for the decision of the IATF-EID.

“For us, we will wait for response on our appeals to the IATF-EID to limit the face shield requirement to COVID-19 critical areas and to the city council to amend our ordinance on its mandatory use because those are the proper procedures,” the mayor said.

“Remember, we are still on alert level 3 not totally out of the woods of the COVID-19 danger.  Hindi tayo pwedeng basta magsiga-sigaan at magyabang-yabangan.  Besides we have an ordinance, we cannot just summarily do away with mandate of the law,” he said.

In his requests to the IATF and the city council, the mayor said the city can now consider relaxing the face shield use requirement after attaining 71.18 percent full vaccination accomplishment in adult target population which can still go as high as 90 percent by year end.

Apart from this, the city has also begun to see a steady downtrend in cases prompting the easing up of restrictions and reopening of more economic activities.

“As some restrictions are gradually eased in consonance with increasing numbers of vaccination individuals, this move may be a welcome change for our citizens after nearly two years of dealing with this pandemic,” he noted. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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