By Genalyn Kabiling
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has been designated to lead a new group that will craft strategies on forward economic planning, including restoring business confidence and “strategic stockpiling.”
The creation of a technical working group for “anticipatory and forward planning” was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during a meeting last Friday, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
The IATF currently serves as the policy-making body of the government’s operations against the coronavirus outbreak.
“A separate IATF Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning is hereby created,” Nograles said last Friday, reading the latest resolution of the IATF.
“This IATF TWG is also directed to develop detailed recommendations in the rebuilding of consumer and business confidence and the resumption of a new normal state of economic activities, including strategic stockpiling,” he said.
Nograles said the technical working group will be composed of the NEDA as chair and the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health, Department of Education, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as members.
He noted that NEDA may propose the inclusion of agencies or offices in the new technical working group subject to the approval of the IATF.
The formation of the new economic planning group comes in the wake of the month-long enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
During the period, the government has imposed a mandatory home quarantine, suspended public transport, suspended work except for frontline services and encouraged work-from-home arrangement in private companies. Travel restrictions have been imposed while classes remain suspended.
The Luzon-wide quarantine will last until April 12 “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”
Composition of National Task Force COVID-19
Top government officials meantime would form part of the new National Task Force on the operations against the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Nograles, Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., currently the chief implementer of the national policy on COVID-19, is also designated as chief of the National Incident Command (NIC). The national incident command will take charge of the day to day concerns and operations in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
Nograles said the head of the Department of Health will lead the task group on response operations. The task group will be supported by other national government agencies to address enforcement and security, food security, disaster risk management, and labor issues, among others.
The head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development will lead the task group on resource management and logistics. The task group will also include the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The Office of the Cabinet Secretary will handle the task group on strategic communications. It will be supported by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
The amendments in the organizational structure of the National Task Force have been approved by IATF during a meeting last Friday. Nograles said regional task force COVID-19 and local task force COVID-19 organizational structures have also been approved.