PH Pediatric Society rejects NEDA’s proposal to ease age restrictions

Published February 16, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) asked Tuesday, Feb. 16, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to take a second look at its recommendation to gradually allow persons between five years and 70 years old  to go out of their houses as part of further reopening the national economy. 

A child plays with his kite along Capulong, Tondo, Manila (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Cynthia Juico, who leads the PPS’ School Health Committee, rejected Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua’s proposal to place the  entire country under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting March 1, 2021.

“Mukhang pag-aralan pa natin uli kasi yung mga teenagers, takot na takot kami, pagka lumabas na sila, magkukulumpungan ang mga ‘yan, nakakatakot, ‘yun pang mga bata hindi mo ‘yan mapipigilan (We have to study this again, we are terrified, when the teenagers go out, they huddle close to each other, it is alarming, how much more on the small children whom you cannot control),” she told the TeleRadyo in an interview. 

She noted that currently, almost no children were hospitalized because of the government’s stricter imposition of stay-at-home rule.

“Kung gusto nyong palabasin, sige,  dadami ang pasyente namin sa clinic, pero ingat ingat na kami dyan, magkakahawaan ‘yan (If you want them to go out, however, we will have more patients at the clinic, but we are very careful about that, because it will be very contagious)i,” Juico said. 

She said it was very difficult to strictly impose social distancing and health protocols on children and teenagers.

“Masasabi ba natin sa mga bata,  distancing, aba ay hindi, Takot na takot kami palabasain ang mga bata. (Can we tell the children, distancing, no, we cannot. That is why we are really worried to let them go out),” she said, citing that the children remain as “super spreaders” once they contract the coronavirus disease (COVID-2019).

She thumbed down the Metro Manila Council’s decision to allow teenagers aged 15 to 17 to go out of their home. 

“Bakit mo papalabasin samantalang nakasara pa ang eskwela natin? (Why are you letting them go out, while our schools are still closed?),” she asked, adding that  “it is not yet time” to implement the face-to-face classes in schools.