Health workers and frontliners call for government to consider placing Metro Manila under ECQ as a ‘timeout’ and avoid getting themselves infected, and also for government to refine its pandemic control strategies. This call is supported by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Formal Labor & Migrant Sector, in a press statement released to Romblon News today.
NAPC Press Statement, 02 August 2020
NAPC FORMAL LABOR AND MIGRANT SECTOR SUPPORTS THE HEALTH WORKERS’ CALL
A large number of doctors’ and health practitioners’ associations in this country recently called for the return of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the affected regions and provinces, including the National Capital Region (NCR), due to continuous spike of number of positive cases. This is contrary to the business community’s appeal to remain our economy open.
There are two schools of thought during the pandemic crisis, one is the general safety and health concerns of our population while on the other hand, the re-opening of businesses and continued grind of our economic wheels.
It is no doubt the enormous effect of the pandemic in our economy which caused hunger, loss of jobs, closure of business establishments and other industries have yet to re-open due to high-risk and vulnerable situation that may lead to increase of number of Covid-19 positive cases. It cannot be denied that we have not yet flattened the curve due to steady surge of Covid-19 positive cases of 93, 354 as of July 2020 from just 18,086 at the end of 31 May 2020.
With the declaration of General Community Quarantine for NCR and other areas of the country on 01 June 2020, the number of positive cases intensified when it reached 75,268 which 37,634 cases incurred from the start of GCQ until 31 July.
This cause a grave concern especially a number of health workers are being infected and their numbers are steadily declining since they themselves have to undergo quarantine procedures while some have died.
This is a real crisis being faced by this country and we may have to swallow a bitter as a response to the adage “we can revive the economy but we cannot revive the dead.”
This is why the urgent call of the Philippine College of Physicians and other health workers’ associations is indeed timely given the circumstances.
On their proposal of two-week respite, the Council has agreed with the following important conditions before implementing such restricted lockdown:
- Hired additional health workers and regularized all job order and contractual health workers;
- Mass testing, RT-PCR and not rapid test, and better isolation and health services for those positive cases;
- Efficient contract tracing from appropriate national agencies up to barangay levels. Effective data gathering and quick response for the affected communities and residents who have symptoms;
- Honest to goodness plans in identification, isolation, contact tracing, treatment and financial and non-financial support to the families of patient and those who are affected due to temporary leave of absence from work;
- Passage of Economic Stimulus Package bills which guarantees efficient financial and non-financial assistance for those workers who will be affected due to work stoppage; for people, especially the poor, in the community; and for MSMEs and industries; and
- Workplace safety and health protocols as well as enough transportation for those workers who will be allowed to work in the essential industries;
The temporary slowdown of economy of the affected areas does not necessarily mean the end of people’s livelihood. The important concern at this point of time is how to appropriately respond to prevent the breaking point of our health care system as many experts have been pointed out.
For us, we could not possibly march unto robust economy while our citizens are not healthy and safe from the pandemic. More than anything else, the welfare of the people are primordial concern before capital and profits.