MECQ imposition needed to address health crisis, DILG explains

Published August 5, 2020, 5:41 PM

by Chito Chavez

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday defended President Duterte for placing Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna back to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya

Describing it as a very difficult decision to make, Malaya noted that long hours of debates among the Cabinet and members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) occurred before the President gave in to the pleas of the health workers.

In a statement over ABS-CBN Teleradyo, Malaya stressed the country’s economy is in the intensive care unit (ICU) state as businesses had to be closed with the lockdown in the midst of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

At the same time, Malaya said the government is dealing with pressing medical issues in the midst of the health crisis.  

Malaya has recognized that the embattled workers under the “no work, no pay’’ scheme are in a deep financial mess but the President had to impose MECQ due to health concerns with the surging COVID-19 cases.

On August 2, Duterte heeded the calls of the tired and overworked health workers to enforce a stricter quarantine policy in the wake of the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 patients in both private and govern-run hospitals.

The health workers publicly aired their sentiments stressing the decision of the government to place some areas under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) allowed more people out on the streets and other public places that caused the widespread transmission of the virus. 

Malaya’s statement came on the heels of complaints that the country will further suffer huge economic blows with the enforcement of the MECQ.

With the non-essential industries ceasing operation and suspension of mass transportation under the MECQ, millions of workers are now clueless on where to get the budget for their families needs.

Even the more affluent business owners have incurred huge financial losses with restaurants, leisure and amusement parks and other non-essential firms remaining closed under the more restricted quarantine protocols.

In some areas of Metro Manila, the displaced public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers have resorted to street begging to feed their families.

Other motorcycle owners who were left jobless discreetly got passengers in exchange for fees to make ends meet.

“Kahit bawal walang akong magawa kundi pumasada ng illegal para may mapakain sa pamilya. Tigil ang byahe ng truck kung saan pahinante ako kaya walang kayod (Even if it is unlawful, I have no choice but to ferry passengers illegally to feed my family. The truck where I am a helper has stopped operation),’’ Marlon Venancio of Barangay E. Rodriguez in Quezon City admitted.