OPINION AND OPTION
By ELINANDO B. CINCO
Top-level decision-makers of the Inter-Agency Task Force will tackle their studied options as they face the end of the 30-day Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine this coming Monday.
As far as I can surmise, based on newspaper reports and TV briefings on the pandemic, the officials have four options: Outright end of the lockdown; gradual termination; selective phase-out; and full 14-day extension.
For the benefit of the average newspaper reader, I will explain in brief each of the above options as simple as possible.
Outright end of the lockdown. By next Monday, the ECQ will stop – from the original Metro Manila lockdown to the extension covering the entire Luzon region, ending April 13.
Gradual termination. Some basic businesses will be allowed to resume, giving permits to their respective workers. Partial public transportation (in reduced capacity) will also start. New version of “social distancing” will be in place.
Selective phase-out. Lockdown will only apply at selected barangays in the entire Luzon. Mayors will be the immediate supervisors. The end in view is to dismantle too many checkpoints of food deliveries.
Full 14-day extension. Up to April 27. This means ECQ will remain as is, with some “modifications.”
But some mandatory prohibitions in the existing ECQ such as the grouping of more than 10 persons; schools, malls, entertainment, and church activities will still be tabooed. The wearing of face masks and the making of social or physical distancing will still be in place.
Incidentally, one top member of IATF said “science” will be a key factor in the retooling of a “transitory” ECQ. He told a group of media men without elaborating, as if they knew the implication of the word.
Based on my raw, elementary deduction from the copious statements coming from IATF and DOH, extension of 14 days more is much likely to be favored by concerned officials for recommendation to the President for approval.
Of course, the Chief Executive has his own resources to back up whatever is his final decision.
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Woe to eager-beaver investigators. The government’s two unlikely agencies are getting heavy flak from the public over their moves to investigatetop public officials, amid the country’s fight against real enemies who are 100 times more deadly than their “persons of interest.”
The NBI, probably tired of raiding wellness spas, and herding attendants and their managers for “human trafficking,” has set their sight on Pasig Mayor Vicco Sotto for violating a newly enacted law, and Sen. Koko Pimentel for unnecessarily exposing his COVID-19 infection to an unknowing hospital crowd.
Press and TV reports had it that the smart aleck claimed the Vice President “was competing” with the President in that department.
Visibly embarrassed no end, the President fired the lawyer last April 4.