Relaxation of quarantine measures no guarantee to economic recovery
MANILA – While Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendric Chua called on the national government to institute a Modified General Community Quarantine beginning March 1, IBON Executive Director Sonny Africa thinks it will not help revive the economy.
In a statement, Africa said the government’s economic managers are still holding on to a wrong idea that relaxing quarantine restrictions is all the country’s economy needs to recover.
“Over a year into the pandemic, they’re still sticking to their false choice of kalusugan vs. kabuhayan aka health vs. economy,” Africa said in a statement sent to the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).
He said the number of new cases has risen since the beginning of the year because contact tracing rate of 1:7 is far, far below the required 1:25-1:37 ratio.
“No wonder the tracing czar (Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong) wants to resign,” he added.
He explained to revive the economy, it is imperative to contain the pandemic with proper tracing, selective quarantines of contacts and speedy isolation of confirmed cases. To spur economic recovery, immediate emergency cash transfers for the most vulnerable 18 million poor and low-income families should be made along with additional support for many distressed small enterprises.
However, Africa said the Duterte government refuses to accept that its public health response is grossly inadequate.
He underscored the practice of the country’s economic managers seen in their refusal to spend to help ordinary Filipinos while appropriating some P2.9 trillion on infrastructure projects and debt service and activist witch-hunting National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ECLAC) this year. (Melo M. Acuña)
IBON Executive Director Sonny Africa. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)