By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Monday that the government should take advantage of the lockdown period to improve the country’s health infrastructure and establish more quarantine facilities for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
Recto said the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon “buys us time to improve our health infrastructure, particularly doing mass testing and ensuring we have quarantine facilities at the local level.”
“That’s what the lockdown is all about,” he said.
Recto added that the construction of more health and medical facilities will help jump start the economy which was stunted by the ECQ.
“Work with private sector, retool certain industries like hotels and motels, possibly we can use them as quarantine centers, or build. You have a million construction workers, we can put them to work and build these quarantine facilities. That way, you are already restarting the economy, too,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines Monday night.
“Remember our economy is in ICU, too. Workers and employers see the financial equivalent of a ventilator so to speak,” he said.
Recto said efforts to improve the country’s health infrastructure should form part of the national strategy against the novel coronavirus spread, which should also include targets in mass testing over a specific period of time.
He said he expects President Duterte to spell out in his report to Congress how he plans to implement the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
“At the end of the day, we have to build the capacity of our health infrastructure down to the local level including quarantine facilities,” he said.