Salceda says Albay not ready for GCQ status

Published May 1, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ben Rosario

Albay, allegedly Bicol’s coronavirus “infection cluster,” is not ready to shake off its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda (MANILA BULLETIN FILE)
Albay Representative Joey Salceda (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda made this claim as he urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to maintain the ECQ in the province which he used to head as governor.

Albay is among the nine provinces in the country which the IATF recommended will enjoy a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) status.

Salceda, chairman of the House ways and means committee, revealed that appeals for Albay to maintain ECQ have been aired by the local chapters of the League of Municipalities and the Philippine Councilors leagues and legislative councils of Legaspi City and Daraga.

“The DOH can verify this if they want to, but based on our estimates, Albay’s R0 is approaching 2 again. In practical terms, that means we are back to our risk levels from mid-April,” Salceda said.

He added: “Of course we want to return to normal, but there’s little evidence that we should, and we want to get this right.”

The senior administration lawmaker noted that out of 50 cases in Bicol as of May 1, 28 cases are in Albay, representing 56 percent of cases in the province, though Albay only has 23 percent of Bicol’s population.

He did not clarify whether there was an increase in positive COVID-19 cases reported, or the number remained the same compared to previous days.

“Sad to say, we are the infection cluster in Bicol. So, if you want to prevent further transmissions in the region, you have to defeat the virus here,” Salceda said.

He explained that the drastic change in the status of Albay also gives little time for the economy to adjust.

“The people won’t instantly have the means to support themselves, but with this drastic change, Albay will lose access to the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and we need to settle our bills and our loans,” Salceda pointed out.