The implementation of the new alert system for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) should be taken by the public as simplified restrictions aimed at preventing confusion on the health and safety protocols.
In an interview over GMA News, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the public should do away with the previous ‘CQ (community quarantines)’ policies and just refer to the alert levels being the new policy health and safety restrictions.
Malaya was referring to the previous health protocols namely the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.
He even admitted being sometimes confused with the numerous previous policies with heightened alert and other restriction levels attached to some of them.
Malaya also noted that the new simplified alert level system with granular lockdowns will be the blueprint in imposing health and safety protocols in the whole country.
Except for minor kinks, Malaya stated that the alert level guidelines have been ironed out with only a few areas of concern up for debate in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque hopefully making the announcement on the said guidelines on Sept. 13 or 14 during his news briefing after the President’s approval of the proposition.
With regard to the aid for areas under the two-week granular lockdowns, Malaya explained that with will be a 50/50 cost sharing scheme between the LGUs and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where the locality will provide assistance in the first week followed by the national government in the second week.
The DILG official also emphasized that it is up to the LGUs if they wish to provide cash assistance to their constituents in the areas placed under granular lockdowns saying that the national government had already shelled out more than P11-billion during the ECQ period in Metro Manila.
Malaya added that they had conferred with the Metro Manila mayors assuring that vegetables and fresh products will be included in food packs after concerns were raised that they would primarily contain sardines.
During the granular lockdown, Malaya noted that food delivery services are allowed but they must leave the items at the border areas where the checkpoints are located where the LGUs have a system on how they are brought to the designated households.
Under granular lockdowns rules, Malaya said individuals are prohibited outdoors even if they are scheduled to have their second COVID-19 doses and will have to wait until the restriction expires.
In these cases, Malaya disclosed that after their quarantine period ends the said individuals need to show their original vaccination schedules and be injected with their second dose as walk-in applicants.
He emphasized that granular lockdowns are imposed without warnings as announcing them ahead of time would defeat the purpose of the restriction with people most likely to leave the area if aware of the schedule of the protocol.
The DILG spokesperson said that residents who had left their homes before the granular lockdown was announced may have to temporarily seek refuge in the residence of their relatives as their places have been branded as critical zones.
Malaya emphasized that only fully-vaccinated police officers will man the checkpoint in the border areas of the places under granular lockdowns adding that they need to take the necessary precaution to avoid being infected by the virus. (Chito A. Chavez)