Placing NCR under MECQ will make a big difference for healthcare workers — medical community

Published August 3, 2020, 12:07 PM

by Noreen Jazul

The medical community said placing Metro Manila and other cities under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for two weeks will make a “big difference” for healthcare workers.

A resident rides her bicycle past armed soldiers along a street in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16, 2020, after the local government reimposed a lockdown in the city due to increased COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President Dr. Jose Santiago Jr. said the two-week “breather” given by President Duterte will allow the medical community to “redefine pandemic control strategies” and “draw up a consolidated and definite plan of action” to address problems within the healthcare system.

“Definitely, that will make a big difference, and a big help for the healthcare workers to really redefine, reflect on what we have done for the past four months, and we can see how we [are] going to really [come up] with a definite plan,” Santiago told ANC on Monday.

“Sometimes you really have to take a time-out to really re-plan and regroup whatever sources are available,” he added.

Santiago said the two-week time-out will also allow the healthcare system to “cope up” with the increasing number of cases in the country. 

“It will really give time for the hospitals to look for resources and supplies so that they can really prepare for the next weeks of battle,” he said.

The PMA president also clarified that the call for a “time-out” from the medical community was not aimed to demean the government, and that its purpose was really to “get some breather.”

“[We want] to make sure that we’re doing the right thing. We have to learn what are the weaknesses that we have so that we can strengthen them in the coming days or coming weeks,” the medical expert said.

When asked what the government should do, Santiago said the Inter-Agency task Force should be “assertive and firm” in instructing all local government units (LGUs).

“LGUs really play a very important role in the implementation of the national action plan. Some LGUs are really very strict, some are not really serious. They have to make sure that [the plan] is cascaded down to the LGUs and down to the barangay level,” Santiago said.