Senators warn vs one-size-fits-all MGCQ status nationwide

By: Christia Marie Ramos – Reporter / @CMRamosINQ

Several senators on Monday warned against an all-encompassing nationwide shift to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), saying there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the economic slump wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Imee Marcos said in a statement that a “shotgun declaration” of a nationwide shift to MGCQ would be “dangerous” to the country still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

“While we are keen to open our seriously damaged economy, the reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A shotgun declaration of MGCQ is dangerous,” Marcos said.

“Let’s establish parameters for opening up our communities — infection rates, local healthcare and quarantine capacities, present transport and mobility, and other vital assessment numbers,” she added.

This week, President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide on the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to place the whole country under the MGQC, the least stringent quarantine classification.

NEDA had recommended a nationwide MGCQ to spur more economic activity in the country.

Nine out of 17 Metro Manila mayors backed the proposal, along with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We should endow LGUs with a full range of powers, plus adequate support and materiel to respond swiftly and effectively to Covid – whether to retain certain highly infected zones under stricter lockdowns, or to revert to GCQ if a more open MGCQ results in an uptick in infection,” Marcos went on.

“Aralin natin maigi at lagyan ng kongkretong batayan pag nagdesisyon,  huwag pabigla-biglang lundag sa pangkalahatang MGCQ. Nakakanerbyos, po!” she added.

(Let’s study this carefully and there should be concrete basis when a decision is made, let’s not suddenly shift to an MGCQ. This is nerve-racking!)

Anchored on science, common sense

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, any imposition or lifting of restrictions should be anchored on science and evidence.

“I have always believed that the matter of the quarantine, whatever kind of quarantine is imposed, should be based on science and evidence, not on anything else. It must be part of a general plan. The difficulty that we had at the start of the pandemic is we keep in imposing quarantine restrictions without a pan,” Drilon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.

“We keep on imposing quarantine all over the place. We have no tracing facilities in place which could have effectively prevented the spread of the virus. We did not have in place. In fact, up to now I doubt if we hired enough people to do contact tracing,” he added.

As for Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, areas with little to no cases of Covid-19 can already be opened up, while those with high transmission of the virus should be kept close.

“Common sense will tell us that in areas with little or no Covid, We can open up. In areas that the virus is not contained you keep close,” Recto said in a message to reporters.

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