MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has recommended placing the entire country under the most relaxed community quarantine restriction starting March 1.
Acting NEDA director general Karl Chua presented the proposal during President Rodrigo Duterte’s weekly televised briefing Monday night.
The recommendation, which Chua had also previously presented to the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19, aims at easing the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the country’s economy
“Kailangan po natin na mag-shift sana sa lalong madaling panahon to MGCQ for the entire Philippines, sana starting March 1, 2021, para i-address po iyong hunger or iyong mataas na antas ng mga Pilipino po na nagugutom ,” Chua said
The official noted that the country already lost P1.04 trillion in income due to the implementation of community quarantine that started in March 2020.
This is equivalent to an average of P2.8 million income loss per day.
Chua stressed, however, that health and safety protocols should not be compromised in relaxing the quarantine restrictions.
“Ang recommendation po namin, dapat ibalanse natin. Hindi naman po natin sinasabi na ibukas lang po natin ang ekonomiya at huwag na nating pakielaman ang COVID-19 cases,” Chua said.
“Kailangan po natin both at nakita po natin, nagbukas po tayo last October at dumaan po ang Christmas vacation, hindi naman po umakyat ang COVID cases,” he added.
At present, only several areas in the country are still under general community quarantine until February 28 which include Metro Manila, Batangas Province, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, Iligan City, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Aside from further relaxing the quarantine measures, the IATF also recommended the implementation of localized lockdowns in the barangay and municipal levels to deal with the COVID-19 situation.
The IATF also recommends increasing public transport capacity from 50% to 70% ; encouraging the use of active transport like bicycles; increasing provincial bus operations; gradually expanding age groups allowed outdoors; and the resuming pilot testing of face-to-face classes in low risk areas.
The IATF maintained that these recommendations are accompanied by strict safety measures to curb COVID-19 transmission. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)