A difficult decision

April 13, 2020

THE Philippines – in the interest of the more than 100 million Filipino people – ought to be very careful in deciding the fate of the government-decreed Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

This, after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the premature lifting of the ECQ, which ends on April 30, would be “dangerous” as it could spark a “deadly” resurgence of the dreaded COVID-19.

In the view of quarters, the corona virus disease is a potent factor that is seen to derail much of what has been achieved by President Duterte since he assumed the top political post of the land in 2016.

Note that the administration in the midst of implementing its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, which is aimed at speeding up the socio-economic development of the country.

Worried, the Philippines and other countries, including the powerful United States, Italy and Spain, reacted by restricting the movement of their citizens in a bid to address the problem.

Today, 26 months before Duterte leaves Malacanang, the country is focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19, which continues to claim the lives of more and more people across the globe.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will give weight to the warning that early lifting of the lockdown could lead to a deadly resurgence of COVID-19.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, a Mindanaoan like Duterte, said the WHO warning would be taken into consideration when the IATF decides the fate of the community quarantine in Luzon.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Cottebreyesus had earlier advised COVID-19-ravaged countries not to be in a hurry in easing restrictions on the people’s movement to address the pandemic.

The task force has come up with five parameters for deciding on the total/partial lifting or the possible re-extension of the ECQ in Luzon, according to the highly-articulate Nograles.

Secretary Nograles said the parameters include the trends in COVID-19 epidemiological curve, the capacity of the health care system and the social, economic and security factors.

We laud the government, through concerned offices and agencies, for implementing measures and programs which we think are needed to stop the transmission of the virus.