Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. confirmed the statement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on face shields.
“I can only confirm what Senate President Tito Sotto and what Senator Joel Villanueva said earlier that the President did say that the wearing of face shields should only be in hospitals,” said Secretary Roque in a press briefing in Malacañang today, June 17, 2021.
The Palace official added that as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is recommendatory to the President, then a pronouncement of the Chief Executive becomes a policy.
“Legally speaking, IATF is recommendatory to the President. When the President speaks then that becomes the policy. But let’s wait for an appeal if one will be lodged,” Sec. Roque said.
Sec. Roque said that the possible move now for the IATF is to appeal what the President said, considering the Department of Health’s position that there are instances when a face shield is recommended to be worn, particularly indoors and in places where many people congregate.
“Uulitin ko po, mukhang the President mentioned a new policy, and of course IATF is recommendatory because it is composed of all alter egos of the President. Nonetheless, this is without prejudice to the IATF appealing the decision of the President, particularly the wearing of shields in enclosed public spaces, in schools, in workplaces, in commercial establishments, such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, and public markets, in public transport and terminals, and in places of worship,” said Roque.
On another matter, Roque, who also sits as IATF spokesperson, announced the arrival of 1.5 million doses of Sinovac vaccines this morning – the third batch of Sinovac vaccines that have arrived in the country this month of June.
“Out of the 1.5-M doses of Sinovac, 500,000 doses ng bakuna ay binili ng private sector sa pamamagitan ng tripartite agreement sa pamahalaan,” said Roque. The spokesperson added that for the month of June, vaccine deliveries will reach 10,804,820 doses.
As of June 17, 2021, Roque reported that a total of 14, 205, 870 vaccine doses have already arrived in the Philippines, according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, including the 1.5-M doses of Sinovac that arrived today.
Meanwhile, on the issue of testing and quarantine protocols in Cebu, Spokesperson Roque clarified his earlier statement on the issue on the diversion of flights from Cebu to Manila. Roque said, “Ilalagay ko lang po sa tamang konteksto. Yung mga panahon pong iyon na pinag-uusapan nga kung dapat ipagpatuloy ang protocol ng Cebu, ang nasabi lang naman po ni Gov. ay dahil iba nga po ang protocol sa Cebu, at if the IATF does not agree with the Cebu protocols eh siguro po i-divert na ang flights sa Manila kasi nga po hindi kontrolado ng Cebu ang protocols na ina-apply dito sa Manila. So yun lang po yung tamang konteksto.”
Also in the same press briefing, Reverend Father Nicanor Austriaco, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and lead investigator for the UST-COVAX Vaccine Awareness Team, disclosed details regarding his research on an oral vaccine for COVID-19.
Fr. Austriaco said he and his students in the U.S. have built a vaccine delivery system and are now assembling a scientific team at the UST to undertake animal studies that will be needed in order to apply for a clinical trial permission from the Philippine national government. Fr. Austriaco added that he hopes to make the vaccine as cheap as possible to benefit poor Filipinos. ### OPS-PCOO