Duterte apologizes for flip-flopping on face shield use

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for confusing the public when he briefly lifted the face shield requirement back in June, saying it was done in good faith before the detection of the feared Delta coronavirus variant in the country.

"Noon sabi ko tanggalin na ninyo ang face shields kasi binabasa ko naman ang ano sa Amerika at lahat, wala namang face shield. Sabi ko pwede na siguro tanggalin ‘yan. Pero noong dumating itong variant na Delta natakot ako," he said during his pre-recorded address that aired on Wednesday.

"Mali ko iyon, ako ang nagsabi na huwag na. Admitahin ko iyon, walang problema, akin yun, it was my call. But I believed in good faith noon na hindi na kailangan," he added.

[Translation: I decided against the use face shields because I read it is not used in America and other countries, so I said we can do away with it. But when the Delta variant was detected, I got worried. I was wrong. I have no problem admitting that. It was my call. But it was in good faith when I believed it was unnecessary.]

Duterte only required the use of face shields in hospitals after Senate President Tito Sotto remarked that the Philippines was the only country mandating its use. However, hours later, Malacañang retracted it and once again required its use indoors and outdoors.

Amid debates on its effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organization on Tuesday said it's untimely to talk about changing the current policy on face shields. WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the government should only talk about making policy changes once the COVID-19 situation is already under control.