Consumer advocacy group head insists there was 'no lockdown' during ECQ period; points to grim OCTA projection

Published August 22, 2021, 5:45 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

That the Philippines might soon hit 20,000 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in a day comes as no surprise to the leader of a pro-science consumer advocacy group.

(Photo by Viktor Forgacs/ Unsplash)

As far as Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) President Angelo Palmones is concerned, no real lockdown was implemented these past couple of weeks, despite the authorities’ imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas.

“There was no lockdown for the last two weeks. People were moving freely,” Palmones, a former congressman, bluntly said on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 22.

“Very few businesses and churches were closed, for the most part it was business as usual. So what do we expect?” he said, alluding to the pronouncement of OCTA Research Group.

The Philippines breached the 17,000 fresh daily cases mark last week during the tail end of an ECQ period that ran from Aug. 6 to 20. The supposed hard lockdown was supposed control the spread of the more dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19.

Earlier Sunday, Guido David of OCTA Research said in an interview over ABS-CBN TeleRadyo that the country could log 20,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day within the next two weeks. He based the projection on the current reproduction rate of the coronavirus.

With this grim assessment, Palmones re-echoed his suggestion to only allow vaccinated individuals entry to commercial establishments including restaurants and supermarkets.

“It’s a no-brainer measure. It’s for public welfare and safety,” the AGHAM president said of his proposed “no vaccination, no entry” policy.

However, such proposal has been thumbed down by both Cabinet members and legislators particularly because of its “discriminatory” nature. Palmones has acknowledged this criticism, but insisted that Filipinos’ safety must be the utmost consideration when it comes to implementing anti-COVID measures.

“The Delta variant has shifted the debate to unvaccinated vs. vaccinated; it’s no longer vaccine hesitancy. Thus, the ‘no vaccine card, no entry’ policy is a forward move,” Palmones said last Aug. 5, or just before the latest iteration of ECQ was imposed.

An ECQ is supposed to be the strictest quarantine level available.