Senators wary of shift to MGCQ sans vaccine rollout

Published February 21, 2021, 4:32 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Some senators on Sunday said they are still skeptical over proposals to place the whole country under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) without the implementation and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.


Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said the situation in the country remains perilous especially since the government has yet to properly roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program.

“Personally, vaccines first. Vaccines first. Vaccine rollout first before you open…the economy. Vaccine rollout first before we ease open our economy),” Go said in an interview in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Go said he is open to relaxing quarantine protocols if the proposal will be further studied in the coming months once the national vaccine program has commenced.

The Metro Manila Council had voted in favor of the proposal of state economic managers, with nine mayors voting fro MGCQ, and eight voting to retain the current GCQ status.

But Go said he is steadfast with his position to defer relaxing restrictions until the COVID-19 vaccines have arrived and administered to the population.

“For me, rollout first before we ease our quarantine restrictions. Remember, the life of every Filipino is more important. Period,” he said.

‘It’s a treacherous disease’

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who last year tested positive for COVID-19 twice, said it would be best for the government to err on the side of caution, especially since there are new variants emerging in the metropolis.

“I’m siding with the mayors who prefer not to ease the restrictions at the moment because these new COVID-19 variants emerging are deadly…Let us be very careful. Metro Manila, and the Philippines as a whole has a serious density factor,” Zubiri pointed out in a Radio DZRH interview.

Europe, he pointed out, had to enforce another serious lockdown, especially in Paris and London where COVID-19 cases surged because they lowered down their protocols.

“They opened the coffee shop, their schools and resumed face-to-face learning. COVID cases surged again and now they are struggling with a second wave,” he said.

“So let’s not make the same mistake. So far, our contamination rate is less than 2,000 people. But if we reopen the economy prematurely we may suffer another wave of infection,” Zubiri said.

“COVID-19 is a traitor. I was infected twice, it’s scary to think you don’t have any idea where you can contract it,” Zubiri pointed out.

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara also said that while he sees the necessity of reopening the economy, the government should approach the proposal to shift to MGCQ very carefully.

Angara said he believes the shift to MGCQ should be done gradually.

“Napapanahon na po ito pero sa ibang aspeto, medyo dahan-dahanin natin especially sa matataong lugar, lalo na sa pagbabalik ng (The proposal is timely, but in some aspects, we need to reopen gradually especially in places where there are many people congregating, especially if we are considering resuming) face-to-face classes,” Angara said in an interview over Radio DZBB.“Unahin na ang mga province na di mataas ang COVID. Palagay ko kailangan na natin ito dahil marami na ang naghihirap. Ito na rin ang solusyon (Let’s start off with the provinces where COVID-19 cases are relatively lower. I also think the proposal is timely because a lot of our citizens are already having financial difficulty. I think this is somehow the solution),” the senator said.