Kuya Bong says IATF to discuss possible ECQ extension

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said the government is currently monitoring the pandemic situation in the NCR Plus bubble to decide as to whether or not the enhanced community quarantine in the area will be extended beyond 4 April.

“Kasalukuyang minomonitor ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa lalo na sa critical areas ng NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, at Rizal,” Go said in a statement.

“Iniiwasan po nating tumaas pa lalo ang bilang ng mga kaso at kumalat pa lalo ito sa ibang lugar kaya tayo nag-impose ng ECQ hanggang April 4,” Go added.

Go shared that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will have a meeting on Saturday to discuss if they need to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the extension of the existing lockdown.

He appealed to the IATF to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to substantiate their recommendation.

“Bago matapos ang week-long ECQ, mag-uusap ang IATF sa Sabado para makapagrekomenda sa Pangulo kung kailangan pang i-extend ito. Umaapela ako sa IATF na pag-aralan ito ng mabuti at magkaroon ng cost-benefit analysis sa kanilang rekomendasyon,” he said.

Go warned, however, that there may be a need to extend ECQ in order to fully achieve the desired results of controlling the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Sikapin nating hindi na sana habaan pa ang ECQ dahil malaking dagok ito sa kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Pero kung patuloy pa rin ang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19, wala tayong choice kundi maghigpit pa rin dahil babagsak naman ang ating health system kapag mapuno pa lalo ang mga ospital at isolation facilities,” he said.

“Ayon rin sa mga eksperto, kailangan matapos ang 14-day cycle para masigurong ma-isolate ang mga may sakit at maiwasan ang lalong hawahan,” he added.

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has reportedly been straining capacities of hospitals in the NCR plus areas due to the deluge of patients seeking medical attention.

The Department of Health (DoH) has been expanding modular health facilities in Metro Manila to cope with the spike in new cases.

Bed capacities in modular health facilities, such as the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Tala, Caloocan City, have all been increased.

Meanwhile, as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go stressed that saving the lives of Filipinos, which includes addressing hunger and poverty, is the primordial concern of the government.

“Ako naman po, bilang Chair ng Senate Committee on Health, ang prayoridad natin ngayon ay makapagligtas ng buhay ng mga Pilipino,” Go added.

“Kaakibat dyan ang pagsigurong maiiwasan hindi lang ang sakit, kundi pati rin ang gutom,” he said.

With this, Go urged concerned agencies particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development to expedite the distribution of assistance to the poor population affected by ECQ who are qualified for the supplemental amelioration assistance earlier approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Higit kumulang 22.9 milyong mahihirap na katao na bumubuo ng 80 porsyento ng populasyon ng NCR at mga probinsya ng Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite at Laguna na naka-ECQ ngayon ang mabibigyan ng ayuda,” Go said earlier.

Go urged implementing agencies to fast-track the distribution of the assistance with the help of local government units to ensure that those who need government aid the most benefit from this program.

“Aprubado na ito ng Pangulo kung kaya’t dapat na bilisan na natin ang pagbigay ng ayuda para makarating agad ang tulong ng gobyerno sa mga dapat makatanggap nito,” said Go who got assurance from Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado that he is monitoring the immediate release of funds to LGUs.

“Sa tulong din ng mga LGUs, dapat mailatag na ang proseso kung paano ito maipapamahagi sa bawat kwalipikadong indibidwal sa paraang maayos, mabilis, at walang bahid ng pulitika o korapsyon,” Go added.

Regardless of quarantine restrictions, Go emphasized the need for discipline, vigilance and cooperation from the public to curb the spread of the virus.

“Kahit ano pa mang quarantine restrictions ang iimplementa natin, mas importante dito ang disiplina, pag-iingat, at kooperasyon ng lahat. Sumunod tayo sa mga itinakdang health protocols para hindi na magkahawahan at hindi na kailanganin pang pahabain ang ECQ,” he said.

Go also reiterated that the country must continue to balance the economy and the protection of the health of the people amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“But between the two, our primordial concern now is to save lives,” he ended.

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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