Gov’t urged to reopen economy amid the extension of MECQ in Metro Manila

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MANILA – In view of the increasing prices of basic commodities in August, a legislator urged the government on Wednesday to reopen the economy, as the administration moved to extend the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila until Sept. 15.

Stella Quimbo, a Marikina City Representative, made the appeal in response to reports that the previous month’s inflation rate climbed to 4.9 percent, primarily due to food, specifically pork, vegetables, and fish.

“Sa kabila ng pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin, sarado pa rin ang ekonomiya. Di na magiging sapat ang pagkain lalo na para sa mga no work, no pay workers na umaabot ng 6 million sa NCR Plus areas (Despite the increasing prices of basic goods, the economy remains closed. There wouldn’t be enough food especially for those no work, no pay workers that reached 6 million in the National Capital Region Plus areas),” Quimbo said.

Quimbo expressed support for imposing granular lockdowns on high-risk regions, noting that such a measure will address Filipinos’ safety as well as financial concerns in the midst of the current pandemic.

“Butas na po ang bulsa ng Pinoy kaka-lockdown. Kung milyun-milyon na ang bakunado at ine-enforce nang mabuti ang minimum health standards, buksan na po ang ekonomiya at payagang mag-hanapbuhay ang ordinaryong Pilipino (The Filipinos have already run out of money due to prolonged lockdowns. If millions have already been vaccinated and minimum health standards are enforced, then we should open our economy and allow the ordinary Filipino to return to work),” she said.

She stated that workplaces and businesses that are “Covid-safe,” or have frequent testing, social distancing, and at least 70% vaccinated staff, should be permitted to operate.

She added that the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)-Sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics support the granular lockdowns, as heard during the meeting of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability last Tuesday.

Instead of having different classifications for community quarantine, she said there should be granular lockdowns and “business bubbles” that provide safer settings for employees who need to return to work.

“Basta lumagpas ang bilang at pagdami ng Covid cases sa isang lugar, required na dapat ang LGU na magpatupad ng granular lockdown. Meanwhile, patuloy ang trabaho sa mga Covid safe workplaces and businesses (Once the Covid cases reach a certain number in one place, the LGU [local government unit] is required to impose a granular lockdown. Meanwhile, work would continue for Covid safe workplaces and businesses),” she said.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Metro Manila’s quarantine classification will only be lowered to GCQ after the country’s capital is ready for the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns.

“Metro Manila’s current risk classification as modified enhanced community quarantine shall be maintained until Sept. 15, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said in a press statement on Tuesday.

From September 8 to 30, Metro Manila was supposed to be under regular GCQ to allow for the imposition of localized or granular lockdowns in the country’s capital.

Indoor and alfresco dine-in services remain prohibited in Metro Manila following the postponement of GCQ implementation, according to Roque.

Personal care services such as beauty salons, beauty parlors, and nail spas are also prohibited, Roque added.

Roque said that religious services may be performed through “online video recording and transmission”.

Necrological services in wakes, inurnment, and funerals, Roque stated, can still be attended by immediate family members, as long as the deceased died of non-Covid-19 causes.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.