The government should provide more attention to the poorest of the poor during the imposition of the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said on Monday.
Go made this call after President Rodrigo Duterte approved last week the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) to impose the strict quarantine classifications within the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the continuing threat of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
He urged the government to provide financial assistance to the marginalized individuals who will be hard hit by the strictest enhanced community quarantine that will be implemented again in Metro Manila from Aug. 6 to 20.
“Nakikiusap po ako sa national government, kay Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte, nagkausap po kami kagabi, huwag nating hayaang may mapapabayaan o may magugutom dahil sa pansamantalang paghihigpit ng mga patakaran, marami ang mawawalan ng kabuhayan, lalong-lalo na po ang mga daily wage earners at mga isang kahig, isang tuka (I am appealing to the national government, to President Duterte, since we have talked last night, please do not neglect those marginalized who will be hit by temporary restrictions and policies as many of them will lose their livelihood, particularly the poor daily wage earners),” Go said in his speech delivered virtually at the launching of the 133rd Malasakit Center at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Virac, Catanduanes on Monday.
Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said he already appealed to Duterte to make sure there will be enough assistance for the poor families severely affected by the pandemic.
He also asked for patience and understanding as the government has to impose stricter lockdowns to contain the spread of the Covid-19 infections while balancing the impacts of the pandemic to the public health and the economy.
“Kung kailangang ipatupad ang ECQ upang maagapan ang sunog bago pa ito kumalat at maging out of control, iyon po ang pangunahing konsiderasyon ng gobyerno, patayin kaagad ang sunog bago pa kumalat at maging out of control. Dahil ayaw nating maging back to zero (If there’s a need to implement ECQ again to prevent a fire before it spreads and becomes out of control, that is the main consideration of the government, put out the fire immediately before it spreads and becomes out of control. Because we don’t want to be back to zero),” he said.
Go also lauded the good turnout of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout with over 20 million jabs administered nationwide so far.
With the bulk of the vaccine supply arriving this month, Go encouraged the public to participate in the national Covid-19 vaccination drive.
Go, meanwhile, reminded the people not to be complacent as the coronavirus Delta variant is posing a serious threat to the country’s health situation and even economy.
“Ako naman, bilang Chair ng Committee on Health sa Senado, ang prayoridad natin ay makapagliligtas tayo ng buhay. Kaakibat diyan ang pagsigurong maiiwasan, hindi lang ang sakit, kundi pati na rin po ang gutom at kahirapan (as a chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, my priority is to make sure that we could save lives. Along with that is to ensure that not only disease but also hunger and poverty can be prevented),” he said.
Go urged the executive department to set aside funds for marginalized sectors during lockdowns.
He said he is hoping that 80 percent of the estimated 13 million population in Metro Manila will get financial assistance like what the government did during the enforcement of ECQ in March.
Meantime, he said the distribution of cash aid to ECQ-affected families in Iloilo province, Cagayan de Oro, and Gingoog City, which had been placed under stricter restrictions from July 16-31, 2021, is still ongoing.
“Rest assured, we are prepared to overcome these challenges as long as we cooperate and remain united towards our collective goal of protecting the lives of our people,” Go said. (PNA)