House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Joey Salceda thinks that the possible re-implementation of Alert Level 2 in the National Capital Region (NCR) does not make sense as a healthcare solution, citing specifically the economic burdens it may impose on the indigent sector.
“At this point, the alert level system, which is primarily based on number of COVID-19 cases, no longer makes sense from a healthcare point of view. Cases will always be there, so we have to measure our ability to live with the cases,” said Salceda in a statement on Monday, June 13.
“Executive Order No. 166 s. 2022 already prescribes that we use more useful and empowering metrics for decision making on COVID-19...So, I don’t understand this talk that a rise in cases might necessitate higher alert level,” the Albay representative added.
The economist solon then explained that an alert level increase would cost NCR-based workers around P1.6-billion, and that 640,000 households would suffer from a decline in food security; a callback to his previous statement pertaining to the impending nutritional crisis wrought by the rising inflation rates.
“I also remind the IATF that every week in lockdown in NCR costs workers around P1.6 billion in salaries. If they have no plan for how to replace the nutrition, non-COVID health, and welfare losses from that, then we should be more circumspect about declaring alert levels,” Salceda explained.
“An alert level increase will worsen the food situation for around 640,000 households in NCR, and could bring them below the hunger line. Again, I hope the IATF considers that...will have very marginal, if any, COVID-mitigating effects. But it will cost working families, especially in the informal and self-employed sectors, gravely,” he continued.
Instead, Salceda posited that the IATF would be better off keeping restrictions to a minimum and focus more on improving vaccine accessibility, food security, and better healthcare facilities.