Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, August 1, asked Filipinos to help one another as the National Capital Region (NCR) prepares for another round of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine classification, from August 6 to 20 to curb the surge of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The NCR is under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from August 1 to 5. It will then revert to ECQ from August 6 to 20, which will only allow essential personnel out of their homes, after the one-week preparation supposedly asked by the business sector.
“Wala pa kasing kasiguruhan kung may ayudang dadating eh. Ang sabi walang pondo. Umaasa pa din tayo magkakaroon pero just in case walang ayuda, tayo na lang mag-ayuda dun sa mga nangangailangan (There is no assurance if there will be cash aid. They said there are no funds. We are still hoping that there will be, but just in case there is none, we can give aid to those in need),” Robredo said on her radio show Sunday, August 1.
Most of Metro Manila’s 13 million population will have to stay home during the ECQ period. This is the third time ECQ was imposed in the nation’s capital, the seat of economic and financial power but also home to many of the country’s urban poor.
Government officials said that there will be cash aid for those who will be hardest hit by the two-week lockdown, but details are still scarce as to the amount, coverage, and source of the financial assistance.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the cash assistance might be similar to the one given last April when the government imposed its second lockdown on the capital. That will be P1,000 per person or up to P4,000 per family.
Robredo asked Filipinos to think about what kind of help they can give to those who would be hardest hit by the lockdown since only essential services will be allowed to keep a skeleton workforce.
“Una, iyong mga merong pambili baka pwede huwag muna tayong magluto sa bahay. Bilhan natin ‘yung mga nagsara para tulong sa kanila lalo na ‘yun mas maliliit (First, those who have the means, maybe we can stop cooking at home. Let us buy from those that will close so we can help them, especially the small ones),” she said.
“Iyong pangalawa, during the ECQ, kung meron tayo sa community na kakilala na hindi nakakapasok sa trabaho at no work, no pay, baka pwedeng tulungan natin iyong pamilya (The second, during ECQ, if we know someone in the community who cannot work and it’s no work, no pay, for them maybe we can help the family),” she added.
The vice president encouraged those who can to donate to community pantries and groups that organize feeding programs.
At the same time, Robredo also called on vaccinated and unvaccinated Filipinos to observe health safety protocols.
“Iyong mga hindi pa po bakunado magrush po tayo. Kung meron lang na vaccine supply na available, magpabakuna na tayo (Those who are not yet vaccinated, let us rush. If there is only an available vaccine supply, let us get vaccinated),” she said.
“Kasi iyong kabutihan ng mga bakunado, kahit nahahawa, iyong symptoms niya hindi kasing severe. Iyong hospitalization bihira na lang (Because the good think about being vaccinated, even if they can catch the virus, the symptoms are not as severe. The hospitalization is seldom),” Robredo added.
The Philippines has 216 known Delta variant cases, most of which are in Region 7 and NCR, with a total of eight deaths. On Saturday, July 31, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 8,147 new cases, the first time in three months that the country recorded more than 8,000 cases in two straight days.