Authorities not too keen on Davao City reverting to ECQ

Published November 13, 2020, 4:15 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY—Even as the new daily cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been hitting record highs, authorities have maintained that they were not too keen on reverting the quarantine status of Davao City to enhance community quarantine (ECQ) due to its impact on the local economy.

A police officer checks on a bicycle rider’s quarantine pass in downtown Davao City during the more restrictive quarantines imposed in the city. (Keith Bacongco)

Dr. Ashley Lopez, focal person for COVID-19 of the Department of Health (DOH) in the city, said in a virtual press conference on Friday, November 13, that the local government was weighing in on all possible options to control the widespread transmission of the COVID-19 in the city.

“When you try to deal with the quarantine status, you have to look for every possible consideration or factor. The surge is not the only thing that we are considering here… because if we are going to impose ECQ, is that what you want? ECQ? There are also economic implications, and President Duterte keeps on repeating that the government does not have money… we have to borrow money,” he said.

He said imposing ECQ or even MECQ will adversely affect the business sector.

The entire city was placed under ECQ from April 4 to May 15, GCQ from May 16 until June 30, and modified GCQ last July 1 until the end of November.

He added they were dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak from the political, social, and medical point-of-views.

As of November 12, Davao City reported 4,901 cases, comprising 69 percent of the 7,058 total COVID-19 cases in the region, according to DOH-Davao. Of this figure, 371 cases were recored in Davao de Oro, 761 in Davao del Norte, 530 in Davao del Sur, 109 in Davao Occidental, and 386 in Davao Oriental.

Davao Region, which is considered as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Mindanao, has 2,131 active, 4,680 recoveries, and 247 deaths, DOH-Davao said.
Lopez said the city government, which derives its income from the business sector, will not be able to sustain its efforts to provide food assistance and other forms of subsidy under a stricter quarantine status.

“In my point of view, there are economic considerations that we should think about when we try to impose something, especially MECQ or ECQ. It will compromise so many, and primarily it will affect the business sector… What will we sustain for the people? If you impose ECQ or MECQ, you have to provide for each and every one,” he added.

He said local authorities have been discussing what possible options the city could adopt to address the problem without resorting to ECQ or MECQ.

“We have been talking about this every now and then… As much as possible, we don’t want to impose ECQ or MECQ for as long as the city can handle it. That’s why, we’re doing everything—all the resorts that we could think about,” he said.

When asked to comment on the appeal of private doctors to revert to ECQ, Lopez said: “We received a letter… the mayor forwarded the letter to me this morning… We’re still trying to evaluate, and think about the request coming from the medical society.”