Face mask vs. face shield

By June 22, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE last days of the mandatory wearing of face shields appears to be inevitable.

Last week, DOH Usec. Leopoldo Vega, backed by DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III, preempted  the IATF on the issue by stating that wearing of face shields will no longer be required while in open public areas. But face shields should still be made to be worn inside malls and other enclosed commercial places.

But still the question remains, why shouldn’t prescription eye glasses and sun shades be allowed to be used in lieu of face shields? The eyeglasses still protect the eyes while the face masks cover and protect the nose and mouth.

Then comes the more practical response of President Duterte. He outdid DOH with his “suggestion” that face shields should only be required when entering hospitals. He-he.

Will IATF outdo the President and declare that only face masks will be required everywhere (?)!

But whatever, it is, indeed, not only cumbersome but can be hazardous to one’s health to wear it on top of the face mask. Whether the face shield protocol is withdrawn or not,  there’s also no doubt that many still feel comfortable wearing face shields for their own confidence as added personal protection against possible infection with COVID-19. In fact, I sense that if others continue to wear their shields, the practice will encourage others to do the same on an optional basis. Voluntary use can be infectious.

But if the intention of IATF is to ensure added protection as a state policy, face shields can’t be the answer. It can achieve this and more if it makes mayors and barangay officials accountable for the strict enforcement of wearing face masks alone whether their constituents are inside or outside public areas or hospitals!

After all, human transmission is only possible when people are near each other, and droplets do not rise or fly unless strong winds come between them and in a crowd, and the virus in droplets do not stay alive in the air for hours.

Face mask must be strictly enforced; face shields should only be encouraged.

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SAFETY SEALS. If the provincial government cares to know, only the strict wearing of face masks in all barangays will immediately lead to re-energizing our local economy the easy and fast way.

 With everyone seen wearing face masks on the streets and inside establishments , it’d be safe to open schools, to lift restrictions on the seniors (the big spenders). Curfews can be shorten to enable restaurants and bars to operate for “night-people”.

 A ”face mask” community will connote safe environment. It will not only encourage more locals to travel around the province and promote tourism, but more visitors from all regions to  visit our tourist destinations. It will enable groups associations and families to gather and induce spending  for food, drinks, clothes, fuel, etc. The distancing protocol can be relaxed. In this regard, both the provincial and city/town governments can help the situation by requiring all tourism establishments to provide free disposable face masks to their customers, to reinforce the strict “No mask-No entry” policy of government.  

 And, to underscore the importance and significance of the provincial government’s “Safety Seal” program, I’d like to add one criterion before a building, an establishment is given a “Safety Seal”: It should only be given to establishments that provide free disposable face masks to visitors who need and wear them, and provide hand washing facilities inside comfort rooms. Other than this, a mere cursory inspection of surroundings can’t mean anything because the virus carrier is not found in the building’s walls, ceilings, floors and doors but in people that enter the building.  

 But after giving the seal, who will strictly monitor compliance?? Ah…back to square one?

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WANTED: MORE NURSES! Our news about shortage of nurses to keep the vaccination rollout in Dagupan City going smoothy is both worrisome and ironic.

Worrisome because the city has a long way to go with the pandemic and at the rate the few nurses at the frontline are being overworked without any help in sight, something very wrong can happen in the weeks ahead. I worry that our nurses in the team who are obviously dedicated to the assigned mission are not properly compensated given the number of hours they are being asked to put in.

Ironic because the shortage is a result of poor planning and vision because the city is teeming with more than a thousand able nursing professionals. The shortage should be the least of the city government’s concern if it knows its priorities for the duration of the pandemic which is not likely to end in the next 6 months.

The city government submitted and approved its supplemental budget but there was nothing in it that listed a budget to cover new contracts for nurses. And yet the city council approved a supplemental budget practically overnight for a reorganization intended for the 90s, and we’re in year 2021!

If the city government wants to be delisted as the epicenter of COVID-19 in Pangasinan, it must begin to act proactively and look into the critical human resource support for the vaccination rollout in the city.

An immediate realignment of P2 million to deploy more nurses over a six month period  contract and cover overtime charges for plantilla nurses is the urgent call to respond to  the city’s emergency situation.

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ANCIENT 3 KINGDOMS PHILOSOPHY.  I just came across an invitation for a one day seminar in Singapore: ”Three Kingdom Leadership and Business Strategies”.

 The course title caught my attention and perhaps that’s because I don’t hold a degree on economics and business management, and I assume this topic is familiar to those steep in business principles and philosophy.  But not I.

 Three Kingdoms? I’ve heard business tycoons talk about their values and adopted business strategies but never did I hear anyone mention “Three Kingdoms”.   

Reading on, the material posted this question: “What is 3 Kingdom and How Does It Apply to Businesses?”

 “Three Kingdoms is dominated by three groups of characters, the legitimate leaders or kings, the advisers, and the generals. None of these could function without the others. Kings succeeded only when they were able to identify the better advisers and generals, and advisers and generals acquired fame and recognition only when associated with the best kings.

“Running a business is similar to engaging in battle. It takes strategies, wits, and grit to outperform, outlast to achieve victory over your competitors. In this modern age, we are always thinking of how to move faster and pre-empt your enemy.”

 Then voila, I finally caught on the relevance of the title and the course –  “China is on the rise, to effectively function and grow, you need a grasp of Chinese strategy culture. The Chinese respond very differently if they realize a person knows their culture. That is if you are familiar too with Three Kingdoms.

Could this be the background the Philippine government need to learn to effectively respond to the West Philippine Sea issue?  Hmmm.

Among the topics that will be discussed (via zoom) are: Ancient Chinese philosophy for today’s business / Understanding strategies in Romance of the Three Kingdoms / Recognize the applications of the Art of War in 3 Kingdom context.  

 I thought I should be listening in until I reached that part that said I have to pay S$680! Hehe… The PUNCH won’t allow me that luxury.

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