To achieve Malacañang’s goal to make the reimposition of a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila the country’s “last ever lockdown,” Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, August 4, offered to help and made several recommendations.
“Lahat ito puwede nang gawin, puwede nang trabahuhin, para maabot ‘yung pangarap na maging last lockdown na ito. As always, willing tayong tumulong sa anumang paraan para maabot ang mga layunin natin na makaraos na sa pandemya (We can do all of these, we can work on them, to reach our goal of this being the last lockdown. As always, we are willing to help in any way possible to reach our goal of getting through this pandemic),” she said in a video message posted on her official Facebook page.
On Tuesday, August 3, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government hopes this will be the last time it will impose a hard lockdown since the number of vaccinations is already increasing.
The National Capital Region (NCR) was put under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened and additional restrictions from August 1 to 5 while it will shift to ECQ from August 6 to 20.
Roque said this decision is guided by science to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases in the region, which are being driven by the more transmissible and contagious Delta variant.
The vice president suggested the national government should work to enhance testing, health care capacity, and vaccination, among others.
“Para marating ‘yung goal na ‘yun, kailangang tingnan ang lockdown bilang stopgap measure lang. Hindi ito gagana kung lahat ng ibang pandemic measures naka-status quo lang (To reach that goal, we need to look at this lockdown as only a stopgap measure. This will not be effective if all the other pandemic measures are on status quo),” she said.
In particular, she urged the government to do more tests since the country is only averaging around 50,000 tests per day, pushing the positivity rate on Tuesday up to 17.5 percent, the highest in over three months.
Robredo said the Philippines should be conducting at least 120,000 tests per day to determine the areas with the highest transmission of COVID-19 cases.
The lady official also placed emphasis on capacitating hospitals to prevent what happened in March and April this year when hospitals turned away COVID-19 patients because they have no more rooms available.
“Tulungan na ang mga ospital na mag-hire na ng mga medical personnel. ‘Yung access sa gamot at oxygen, tiyakin, at bantayan ang nagsasamantala sa presyo (Let us help the hospitals to hire medical personnel. Let us assure access to medicines and oxygens and guard against those who take advantage of the prices),” she said.
Criticizing the confusing number of different contact tracing apps, Robredo suggested to make one unified contact tracing app so there will only be one database for the whole country.
“Pinakamahalaga, ‘yung bakuna, dapat paabutin ng 750,000 a day ang nababakunahan para mapabilis ‘yung pag-abot natin sa herd immunity (Most importantly, the vaccination should reach 750,000 a day to reach herd immunity),” Robredo stressed.
The reimposition of the two-week lockdown also means that millions of Filipinos will lose their livelihoods.
“Kaya kasabay ng mga paghahanda sa ating healthcare system, dapat ring tiyakin ang mabilis na pagbibigay ng pangakong ayuda sa mga maaapektuhang pamilya, at suporta rin para sa mga maliliit na negosyo (That’s why together with preparing our healthcare system, we should also ensure the fast distribution of the promised cash aid to the affected families and to support the small businesses),” she said.