Malacañang on Thursday confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte’s “presidential policy” that ordered the abolition of the face shield requirement and only making it mandatory in hospitals.

Duterte’s decision was first made public by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who said in a tweet that “the president agreed that face shields should only be used in hospitals.”

“I can only confirm what Senate President Tito Sotto and what Sen. Joel Villanueva said earlier that the president did say that the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Sotto earlier this week noted during a Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on Tuesday that the Philippines was the only country in the world that was requiring the use of face shields in public spaces.

The same statement was earlier made by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who said that the face shield requirement was an added expense to Filipinos.

Later on Thursday, Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases had recommended to Duterte to retain the face shield policy in “enclosed/indoor spaces of hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments (such as but not limited to food establishments, malls and public markets), public transport and terminals and places of worship.”

“While waiting for the president’s decision on the matter, the existing policy on the use of face shields remains in effect,” he added.

The Philippine government made mandatory the wearing of face shields nationwide in December last year, nine months since the first community quarantine was imposed in the country.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face shields are not effective in protecting an individual from respiratory droplets. John Ezekiel J. Hirro