Barangay-level lockdown pushed

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion on Saturday recommended a selective quarantine at the barangay level in May, once the extended enhanced community quarantine ends on April 30.

Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

“Let us not penalize the barangays that are infection-free and have followed the President’s orders to stay home for 6 weeks,” Concepcion said.

However, those barangays that still have overwhelming infection rates are advised to undergo another extension to ensure the containment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “This all serves as an incentive for the mayors, barangay captains, and the residents to keep their barangays safe, with no new cases,” said Concepcion.

In the Barangay Quarantine approach, the mayor and barangay captains are empowered to implement an extended lockdown in their respective communities, especially if the rate of infection within their area is high. The determining guidelines for declaring a quarantine will be provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Inectious Disease (IATF).

“When we say Barangay Quarantine, you don’t start by locking down a certain city, you start by considering quarantines for barangays that have high infection rates,” he said. The Barangay Quarantines aim to help in zoning in on the most vulnerable communities, and redirect precious resources and services to help properly stop the spread of the contagious disease.

“At this point in time, I believe every mayor and every barangay captain understands the risks and what is at stake. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, our rapid testing capabilities will improve,” he explained.

Depending on the number and location of the confirmed cases per area, the Barangay Quarantine can be expanded to become a City/Municipality Quarantine, and even a Provincial Quarantine, should a wider scale lockdown be necessary.

With the lockdown extension and Barangay Quarantine in effect, the military and police can focus on the infected areas, and public and private sectors can proceed with the testing of barangay residents to measure the level of risk within the community.

This strategy, if implemented successfully, will help reinstate public confidence and revive the economy. With proper testing and containment of the virus at the barangay levels, key industries can resume operations and the essential workforce can return safely to work. The Barangay Quarantine is the most sustainable approach to containing the virus, and can be used continuously until a cure is found.