Church groups says gov’t should ensure poor have economic relief during ECQ

Published March 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez 

A church group on Tuesday insisted that an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) devoid of economic considerations and relief for the poor “will lead us to a bigger humanitarian crisis’’.

National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) Bishop Reul Norman Marigza warned that workers and the poor are the most affected amid the ECQ.


“The two days of community quarantine are more than enough for us to see that this alone is not the solution for the crisis,” Marigza said.

“Unless the poor are considered and provided with economic relief and unless medical services are enhanced and made accessible for them, the community quarantine in whatever form will defeat itself. This will just lead us to further humanitarian crisis.”

The government announced an “enhanced” community quarantine, on March 16, which will now cover Luzon a day after a Metro Manila-wide community quarantine took effect.

It emphasized strict home quarantine in all households, the suspension of mass transportation, regulation of the provision of food and essential health services, and the heightened presence of uniformed personnel.

“We are doomed to suffer a more serious humanitarian crisis altogether if the social and economic concerns of the poor remain unaddressed. This spells massive job and income losses, inaccessible basic social services. This will worsen the plight of millions of Filipinos already suffering from poverty and hunger,” Marigza continued.

“The budget should be realigned to restore the P10 billion budget cut on health services. The intelligence funds placed in the department budgets and in the hands of the President can be re-allocated to send the signal that the government is doing all it can to avert this crisis”, he noted.

The group has reiterated its call for relevant stakeholders to provide social safety nets and mitigation measures as the community quarantine will hamper socio-economic activities of poor communities and labor force, who are the most vulnerable.

Marigza concluded “the more funds should be channeled to medical supplies and services.”