President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night was apologetic over his government’s contradicting statements about the use of face shields, but stressed that the requirement was here to stay.

Duterte finalized his decision to retain the face shield requirement on Monday night, as announced by his spokesman, Harry Roque.

“Acting on the advice of health experts and in view of the Delta variant, PRRD declared that the wearing of face shields, both indoor and outdoor, is still mandatory,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a tweet.

Earlier, the president issued an order abolishing the face shield requirement and only making it mandatory in hospitals.

The country’s pandemic task force later appealed to continue the requirement of face shields in enclosed and indoor spaces, including hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments, public transport and terminals and places of worship.

“I will apologize to the Filipino people that this thing was being discussed openly and many thought that we were ready to do away with the face [shields]. But with the kind of aggressive infection that poses a very grave… It’s a small inconvenience, actually,” Duterte said in his Talk to the Nation address.

“I know that it is inconvenient really to be wearing the mask, adjusting it from time to time. But that is only a very small price to pay than rather gamble with doing away with it and courting disaster,” he added.

A total of 17 Delta variant cases have been detected in the country, 15 of which have recovered, one has died while one is active. John Ezekiel J. Hirro