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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Inputs for safe reopening of the Economy submitted to OP and IATF-EID

Albay’s Representative Salceda submits paradigm for reopening of industries

MANILA – Albay’s Second District Representative Jose Sarte Salceda said he will submit to president Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases his recommendations for reopening industries as he warns everyone against complacency and leakages from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

“While the declaration is laudable in that it allows policy to adjust to the outbreak science, and is strongly evidence-based, the policy also carries three primary risks that can be addressed by complementary action,” said Congressman Salceda, House Ways and Means Committee chair.

He identified these risks as complacency in GCQ areas, incongruity of logistics and supply chain management between the GCQ and ECQ areas and leakages between GCQ and ECQ.

Prior to President Duterte’s nationwide broadcast at 8:00 A.M. today, Congressman Salceda said he submitted a report to President Duterte and the IATF-EID recommending that minimum health standards be considered as prerequisites for any adjustment in policy between ECQ and GCQ. He added the framework which was described by Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr when submitted to fellow Cabinet members as “intelligent,” has been adopted as part of the IATF’s decision tool for deciding adjustments in quarantine restrictions.

“There are three issues that we need to manage, One, people being overconfident, thinking GCQ means less risk for them. Two, confusion in checkpoints between ECQ and GCQ provinces, especially since policies will alternate in certain routes, like the Manila to Bicol route. That will pose issues for the supply of essential goods. Three, people stealthily moving to GCQ areas so they can have it easier,” he explained.

Salceda added all there would be dangerous for health and economic outcomes “so it’s essential that we recognize them before they happen and proactively address them.”

He also recommended measures to address the previous concerns as “communications efforts by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases must be directed to ensuring that the public still takes as much personal caution and observes as many of the best practices as would be accessible to them.

The lawmaker from Albay said the administration of checkpoints should be clear and streamlined along with the while breadth and scope of the supply chain for ‘essential goods” should also be clearly defined with openness to amendment. He said transit between GCQ and ECQ areas should remain unhampered.

“The national task force (NTF) implementing the quarantine restrictions must secure ECQ-to-GCQ transit, and ensure that it remains limited to essential travel and transport of necessary goods and their components. Leakages, especially of persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) from ECQs and seeking less stringent quarantine regimes, may cause new outbreaks,” Congressman Salceda said Friday.

He also recommended a decision test for reopening industries.

“Where a coincidence of necessity, increased or sustained demand and worker protection exists, the industry should be reopened. These industries include agriculture, food retail and manufacturing, logistics, water and energy, and telecommunications and media. Where consumer demand will not be sufficient to support full operation, it may be unnecessary and counterproductive to consider a full opening of the industry,” he added.

Congressman Salceda said two economic considerations should be clear on decisions between GCQ and ECQ by finding out the share of the labor force that can be allowed to perform their normal functions and the share of the consumer will have on income and the confidence to result normal or near-normal consumption patterns. Looking from the whole-of-economy perspective, answering the first question sans due regard for the second, is an incomplete analysis.

“In simple terms, pag walang bibili, huwag nang buksa ang negosyo. Kapag may bibili, may pangangailangan, at may proteksyon sa manggagawa. Kapag hindi po pasado sa tatlong ito, pag-isipan muna kung bubuksan,” he said.

Mr. Salceda was the first to call the Metro Manila lockdown following reports of community transmission in San Juan. He also filed a bill creating a Center for Disease Control and establishing special powers to address a health emergency as early as January.

A known disaster preparedness advocate, the lawmaker from Bicol was once co-chair of the Green Climate Fund. He also served Governor of the disaster-prone Albay. (Melo M. Acuña)

Rep. Jose Sarte Salceda (House of Representatives Photo)

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