The Cebu government’s message to PUV drivers and conductors is clear: Put on a personal air purifier, or face the consequences.
According to a report by SunStar Cebu, PUV drivers and conductors caught without the wearable device will be issued a traffic citation by enforcers starting Wednesday, August 25.
During a recent checkpoint inspection, Cebu governor Gwen Garcia said that these citations will be issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-Central Visayas. The official added, however, that the provincial government will give compliant drivers wearable air purifiers and vitamins.
“Kahibaw man sad ko nga naningkamot gyud ang atong mga bus and minibus operators, that’s why ato ganing gi-move ang deadline to the 25th,” she said.
(“I’m also sad that our bus and minibus operators are really trying, that’s why we even moved the deadline to the 25th.”)
Garcia’s government is pushing through with the implementation of the measure despite the Department of Health’s (DOH) warning that wearable air purifiers do not protect their users from COVID-19.
“Sa ngayon hindi natin nirerekomenda yang mga necklace air purifier, at sinasabi na ng ebidensya at mga eksperto that it’s not going to provide you with protection. Sana hindi na lang natin ito gamitin,” health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a press conference earlier this week.
This isn’t the first time the DOH has had to reiterate its stance against the use of wearable air purifiers. Late last year, the agency already said there was a lack of evidence the devices even worked.
“While these devices do not pose any harm, the DOH currently does not recommend using these devices due to lack of evidence of efficacy,” the agency said in a statement from October 2021, adding that wearable air purifiers should not replace face masks, handwashing, and adhering to social-distancing requirements.
What do you think? Will requiring PUV drivers and conductors to use wearable air purifiers help protect their passengers from COVID-19? Sound off in the comments.