Hy­brid quar­an­tine eyed in NCR

Published July 13, 2020, 3:13 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Eco­nomic col­lapse feared if ECQ is reim­posed

The coun­try’s econ­omy will not sur­vive the coro­n­avirus dis­ease (COVID-19) pan­demic if the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion (NCR) re­verts to en­hanced community quar­an­tine (ECQ), a task force leader bared on Mon­day.

(Photo by Miggy Hilario / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Pres­i­den­tial Peace Ad­viser Car­l­ito Galvez Jr., chief im­ple­menter of the Na­tional Task Force (NTF) against

COVID-19, said Metro Manila may­ors have rec­om­mended that NCR be placed un­der “hy­brid” gen­eral com­mu­nity quaran­tine (GCQ) amid the ris­ing num­ber of COVID-19 cases in the past weeks.

“Sa nakikita natin, ka­pag gi­nawa natin ang ECQ sa buong NCR, buong siyu­dad, babagsak po ang ekonomiya. Nakita rin po natin may lim­i­ta­syon po ang ECQ (As we have ob­served, the econ­omy will col­lapse if we place the en­tire NCR under ECQ. The ECQ has its lim­i­ta­tions),” Galvez said in a vir­tual press brief­ing in Mala­cañang.

Con­cerns were raised on the pos­si­bil­ity of plac­ing Metro Manila un­der a stricter com­mu­nity quar­an­tine to pre­vent the health care fa­cil­i­ties from be­ing over­whelmed but Galvez said this rec­om­men­da­tion was not in­cluded in the list sub­mitted by the lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tives to the In­ter­A­gency Task Force (IATF) for the Man­age­ment of Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Diseases.

Data doesn’t sug­gest MGCQ

In Mala­cañang, Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Harry Roque said on Mon­day that present data shows that Metro Manila may not down­grade to the mod­i­fied GCQ (MGCQ), a state­ment that runs counter to the an­nounce­ment made on Sun­day by Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Karlo No­grales, the IATF co-chair­man, who said Metro Manila might even­tu­ally down­grade to MGCQ soon.

Roque said peo­ple in the NCR should lower their expectations as case dou­bling rate and crit­i­cal care ca­pac­ity of the re­gion do not sug­gest a re­lax­ation of quar­an­tine mea­sures.

“Sig­uro po (Per­haps) at this point, the data does not in­di­cate na pup­wede magluwag po at least sa Metro Manila, para lang po to man­age expectations (that Metro Manila can down­grade to MGCQ, just to man­age expectations),” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Galvez, the IATF con­ducted a meet­ing last Thurs­day and Fri­day to de­cide on the fate of the en­tire coun­try’s com­mu­nity quar­an­tine sta­tus ahead of its lapse on Wed­nes­day, July 15.

“Na­pagka­sun­d­uan na may ar­eas na mag-e-es­ca­late con­sid­er­ing that nakita po natin na tu­mataas po ‘yung at­ing se­vere at crit­i­cal cases, at the same time ‘yung new cases tu­mataas rin po (It was de­cided that there are ar­eas that will be es­ca­lated con­sid­er­ing there is an in­crease in the num­ber of se­vere and crit­i­cal cases, and the new cases are also ris­ing),” he said.

“Sa ngayon po, minit­ing din nila ang [Metro] Manila may­ors and they are rec­om­mend­ing na ma-main­tain ang ano nila… na nakita natin ‘yung hos­pi­tals me­dyo na­pupuno (Right now, they also met with Metro Manila may­ors and they are rec­om­mend­ing to main­tain their [sta­tus]… as we have seen that the hos­pi­tals are slowly fill­ing up),” he said.

Stricter con­trol, open more eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties “Ang hini­hiling nila, magka­roon ng parang stricter ang con­trol but we can open other eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity kaya parang tinatawag ni­lang hy­brid (What they [Metro Manila may­ors] are appealing for is to have a stricter con­trol but we can open other eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity that’s why it’s hy­brid),” he ex­plained.

In a hy­brid com­mu­nity quar­an­tine sta­tus, Galvez said the eco­nomic and pri­vate sec­tors shall take equal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in con­tain­ing the pos­si­ble spread of COVID-19 cases.

“Sabi nga ni [Fi­nance] Sec­re­tary [Car­los] Dominguez, the econ­omy is now on the tip­ping point, mean­ing na­pakahi­rap na po ng sit­wasyon na ka­pag hindi natin na-re­cover ngayon mahi­hi­ra­pan na pong magka­roon ng mas malak­ing cri­sis (Like what Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez said, the econ­omy is now in the tip­ping point which means that it will be dif­fi­cult to con­tain a big­ger cri­sis if we can­not re­cover now),” he said.

The Philip­pines has one of, if not the long­est lock­downs in the world to con­tain the COVID-19.

While it helped in slow­ing down the spred of the dis­ease as proven by med­i­cal ex­perts, it also re­sulted to a mas­sive blow to the econ­omy with mil­lions of jobs lost and thou­sands of busi­nesses closed, ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment.

The gov­ern­ment is now im­ple­ment­ing the sec­ond phase of its so­ called Na­tional Ac­tion Plan (NAP), or the over­all strat­egy to com­bat the COVID-19 pan­demic.

Un­der the sec­ond phase of NAP, Galvez said there is a need to re­bal­ance the health and eco­nomic ob­jec­tives to avert a po­ten­tial col­lapse of ei­ther sec­tor. The sec­ond phase will run from June to Septem­ber 2020.

“Da­han-da­han nang bin­ubuk­san ang econ­omy baga­mat nan­dito ang threat ng virus. Kailan­gan na ire­cover ang ekonomiya para manum­ba­lik ang negosyo at tra­baho ng ma­ma­mayan (We are slowly open­ing the econ­omy de­spite the threat of the virus. We need to re­cover the econ­omy to bring back the busi­nesses and jobs of the peo­ple),” he said.

Pres­i­dent Duterte is ex­pected to an­nounce the new com­mu­nity quar­an­tine sta­tus on Wed­nes­day. (With a re­port from Argyll Geducos)