‘Speculative, dangerous’ to predict Metro Manila shift to MGCQ by April — Marcos

Published March 4, 2021, 8:48 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday scored Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez’ prediction that Metro Manila could be placed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by April.


In a statement issued March 3, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs stressed that even with the rollout of the vaccination program, the country’s COVID-19 situation remains “very volatile and now there are several highly contagious variants of the virus.” “While I am as keen as our finance managers to reopen our economy, it is entirely speculative at this point to impose a date!” Marcos said.

“It’s not even clear when the vaccines will arrive. Sinovac’s vaccine was donated in December but only came in last Sunday. AstroZeneca’s delivery should have taken place yesterday but got snagged. Global supply has really fallen short and other countries got ahead of us.” “It’s scary to insist on opening all businesses when most workers have not yet been vaccinated!” she continued.

“We need a better studied, more nuanced, and specific approach to reopening the economy; sweeping generalizations are potentially very dangerous,” she said of Dominguez’ reported pronouncement.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua previously recommended placing the entire country under the MGCQ, the least restrictive community quarantine, to further open up the local economy. But President Duterte thumbed down the proposal pending the rollout of the government’s nationwide vaccination program.

On March 1, the first day of the inoculations against COVID-19, Dominguez was quoted saying that the National Capital Region may shift to MGCQ by April.

Marcos suggested that the government instead explore the possibility of imposing “micro-lockdowns”, especially in areas that are still high-risk for coronavirus transmission.

“While most areas may already be considered under control, micro-lockdowns can be maintained in so-called hotbeds,” she said.

She also reiterated the Senate’s appeal for the reopening of the country’s schools starting with the Department of Education’s (Deped) pilot testing in low-risk communities of the country.

“For me, let’s pilot some schools in areas where infection is low, just a few days in a week, just a few hours each day. No need for 1,000 schools to be opened all at once, as the DepEd said, but let’s start piloting in some schools facing different conditions, so that we can study them: urban, rural, with internet access, on islands or mountains, etc[etera],” she said.

“Let’s begin by piloting a few representative schools [as soon as possible],” Marcos said.