Imee bucks ECQ extension in NCR+, calls for shift to MECQ

Published April 5, 2021, 2:39 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Imee Marcos said the government should just relax the strict lockdown over the “NCR Plus” bubble to the less restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) if it will not ramp up its medical solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and will not able to provide enough social amelioration to displaced families and workers.

(Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

Marcos on Monday, April 5, expressed her opposition to the reimposition and extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan. She shared the view that it, alone, will not curb the latest surge of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in thee country.

“Sa totoo lang, wala na tayong kadala-dala sa ECQ. Isang taon na tayong mahigit na ECQ, open-close, close-open…Bumababa ba ‘yong impeksyon? Hindi. (To be frank, I think we have not learned our lesson from the last year’s ECQ. We have been under quarantine for over a year, been imposing ECQ, opening our economy only to close it again. Are the infections decreasing? No),” she told reporters in a Zoom interview.

“Wala rin. Wala ring nangyayari (It’s nothing. Nothing is happening),” she lamented, adding the move was “very impractical.”

The imposition of the ECQ, she said, should be accompanied with medical solutions, specifically testing and contact tracing as well as, sustained protection of health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.

She added social protection measures, such as cash assistance and food packs, should be provided for poor families displaced by the strict lockdowns and travel restrictions “so that they will no longer roam around looking for sources of livelihood.”

“Dapat ‘yong dalawa in place, kapag hindi in place ‘yan, huwag na nating pilitin na wala tayong kadala-dala (Those two should be in place, otherwise, let’s not insist on this ECQ like we haven’t learned our lesson).”

“Para sa akin mag-MECQ na tayo, please lang. Kasi ‘yon lang ang abot kaya ng ating palpak na health care system, ng ating kakarumpot na budget (For me, we should just ease it to MECQ, please. Because that is what our failing health care system and meager budget can afford),” Marcos urged the government.

She also said the local government units (LGUs) be allowed the discretion to impose “highly-targeted, time-bound, very focused” localized lockdowns in their jurisdcitions instead.

“Iyon lang abot-kaya natin at hindi naman natin napapangalagaan yong ating health workers (That’s what we can only afford since we cannot take care of our health workers, anyway),” Marcos lamented, citing calls for provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and compensation from the health sector.

President Duterte approved over the weekend the recommendation of the multi-agency government task force to extend for at least another week the imposition of the ECQ that was first implemented from March 29 to April 4 over the NCR Plus.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque disclosed on Monday that the government is mulling to implement the MECQ in the travel bubble after the two-week ECQ.