Step-by-step MGCQ for the Philippines?

By now, it has been made clear that the Philippines won’t shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) because President Rodrigo Duterte wants vaccination for COVID-19 to happen first. To put it short, health and personal safety are being prioritized although this means more waiting on the part of many people who are still unemployed and struggling without the needed income.

Yesterday, a new report published by Philippine News Agency (PNA) states that Duterte is taking a “step-by-step” approaching to the planned shift to MGCQ for the nation according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Here is an excerpt from the report…

“For him (Duterte), it’s a step-by-step approach. Itong step muna before we go to the next step (We have to take this step first before we go to the next step), Nograles said in an online press briefing.

Nograles said it was “difficult” for Duterte to turn down the proposed shift to MGCQ.

However, Duterte wants to make sure that people’s health and safety would not be compromised, Nograles said.

“Again, the President and the government recognize the urgency of reopening the economy so we can resume the pre-pandemic upward trajectory and sustained growth of the economy. This, however, should be done side-by-side with measures that will ensure that we do not compromise efforts to contain Covid-19,” he said.

As seen above, the national leadership is aware of the need for economic recovery so that people suffering can be assisted by means economic opportunities. They are balancing economics with health as they are trying to find solutions and decide when to execute solutions. Shifting the whole nation to MGCQ can be done but with caution so that the risk of new infections won’t be too great.

Here is another excerpt…

The government was supposed to start its free vaccination program this month. However, there was a delay in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines due to indemnification requirements.

Nograles said the IATF-EID would stick to the “month-to-month” assessment even if the government starts its mass immunization drive.

“If we go by the procedure, every end of the month, that is when we discuss ano ‘yung magiging recommendations namin kay Pangulo (what our recommendations to the President would be) for that succeeding month. So siguro (perhaps), in terms of timeline, perhaps that might be the same procedure that we follow,” he said.

The delayed arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines is indeed painful. Of course, people need to realize that while they can be helpful, the vaccines may not be the greatest solution to take during this pandemic. Even if a person gets vaccinated, caution must still be practiced when moving around in public.

More on the issue of shifting the entire nation to MGCQ status, I hope that the Metro Manila mayors as well as their advisers and experts would start researching how local governments and community leaders in other cities and provinces are doing under the declared MGCQ statuses in their respective areas. With Duterte’s refusal to move the nation into MGCQ, Metro Manila leaders have time to do such research.

Going back to Duterte and his cabinet, a new executive order (EO) is being prepared to institutionalize the 2021-2022 National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) with the goal of bringing back jobs in the labor market. Here’s an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report…

In a virtual presser, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the NERS was discussed and approved during the 52nd Cabinet meeting presided over by President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace on Monday night.

“Another initiative that was discussed yesterday (Monday) was the 2021-2022 National Employment Recovery Strategy or NERS…An executive order (EO) is now being readied to institutionalize the NERS task force in order to oversee all of these efforts,” he said.

Nograles said the NERS is meant to help create a policy environment that encourages the generation of more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

It is also expected to improve the employability and productivity of workers as it provides support to existing and emerging businesses.

“The strategic framework of the NERS is based on the following pillars — stimulating the economy and employment; supporting enterprises, jobs, and income; protecting workers in the workplace, and trusting social dialogue to encourage innovative solutions,” he said.

Watch out for more national developments here.

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No vaccine for COVID-19, no MGCQ for the Philippines

People here in Metro Manila who have gotten tired with the general community quarantine (GCQ) limitation during the COVID-19 pandemic will have to wait a bit longer as President Rodrigo Duterte refused to shift the entire nation to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status because the vaccination for COVID-19 should be done first.

This was announced during the Cabinet meeting last night. Below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report…

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gave his directive to the Cabinet that the Philippines would not be placed under modified general community quarantine unless there is a rollout of vaccines,” he said in a statement.

While Duterte acknowledged the need to reopen the economy, Roque said the President refused to put people’s health and safety at risk.

“The Chief Executive recognizes the importance of reopening the economy and its impact on people’s livelihoods. However, the President gives higher premium to public health and safety,” he added.

The President made it clear that the vaccination roll-out should go first before shifting the entire nation into MGCQ control. While it is clear that reopening the economy is essential, Duterte prefers to take time to be cautious and reduce the risks of new infections. As far as he is concerned, vaccines should go first.

It has already been reported that vaccine shipments to the Philippines have been delayed. This is undoubtedly bad news for the entire nation as there are lots of people who lost their jobs and fell into poverty as restrictions severely brought the economy down. The more people fall down into poverty, the more expensive it becomes for local governments to serve them. Speaking of local governments, the City of Las Piñas made preparations for COVID-19 vaccination and already they are handling the applications of constituents who applied to register themselves. Over at Muntinlupa City, meetings and preparations for COVID-19 vaccines were done.

Going back to Metro Manila, a majority of mayors voted to have the metropolis shift to MGCQ status by March 1. As the President made the rejection and insisted vaccination should go first, business owners, their affected employees and the unemployed will have to wait longer before MGCQ will be declared not only for the National Capital Region (NCR) but for the entire nation. The MGCQ status for the Philippines is key to economic revival which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports.

For those of you reading this, do you think the President made the right decision? Would you insist on declaring an MGCQ status nationwide without the COVID-19 vaccines? Please answer by commenting below. Thank you.

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Majority of Metro Manila Mayors support shift to MGCQ status by March 1, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte will have a big decision to make that will affect millions of residents and businesses in Metro Manila as a majority of the mayors voted to shift the metropolis from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status by March 1, 2021, as based on a news release on Philippine News Agency (PNA) that got published just last night.

Here’s an excerpt from the PNA report:

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of Metro Manila mayors and national government officials, has voted to support the proposed shift to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Ang karamihan po ng alkalde ng kalakhang maynila ay bumoto na MGCQ na po ang magiging posisyon nila pagdating sa Metro Manila (Most of the mayors in Metro Manila voted for having MGCQ as their position in Metro Manila),” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. said in a press conference on Thursday.

This, he said, will be sent to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and to President Rodrigo R. Duterte who will make the final decision on whether to implement eased quarantine restrictions by March 1.

He declined to provide the actual number of votes the proposal received but said that all Metro Manila mayors will support the decision.

Indeed, Abalos did not reveal the number of Yes and No votes but the Manila Bulletin reported that the score among Metro Manila mayors was 9-8 in favor of MGCQ.

To put things in perspective, Metro Manila still has yet to adjust to MGCQ status. Metro Manila is the hot spot of multiple cities where a lot of residents as well as business entities of varied sizes are located at. Right now, the nation needs a major boost to its economy even as there is still the need to be vigilant to avoid new COVID-19 infections. Lots of people in the metropolis remain unemployed and badly need income, and having Metro Manila shift to MGCQ status will help revive other businesses and pave the way for more people to get back to work.

It would be nice to see the Metro Manila Council research more and observe closely how other cities and provinces are doing while maintaining MGCQ statuses for months already.

On a grander scale, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports the recommendation to have the entire nation placed under MGCQ status by March. The said recommendation was made by Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in recent times. Below is an excerpt from the PNA report:

“It is about time we move to MGCQ after a year of lockdown,” Lopez told reporters in a Viber message Tuesday. “Lockdown was supposed to buy us time to prepare our health system and improve contact tracing and ‘Trace-Test-Treat’.”

Since June 2020, the National Capital Region (NCR) has not graduated from GCQ status, a stricter community quarantine measure than MGCQ.

It even went back to much stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4 to 18 last year as health care facilities in Metro Manila were overwhelmed due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases during that period.

“As the Philippines recovers, Metro Manila has a very weak recovery, worse in employment and hunger recovery, and that means more urban poor. The damages to malnutrition and other health and social issues will be irreversible,” Lopez said.

NCR accounted for around 40 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP).

But Lopez added the reopening of more economic activities should depend on the Covid-19 statistics.

As pointed out by Trade secretary Lopez, Metro Manila is lagging behind in terms of recovery from the pandemic. Apart from joblessness and lack of income, poverty in the National Capital Region is an important problem to solve. The more people fall under poverty, the more local government units (LGUs) need to exert and spend their limited resources to support them.

Right now, the Metro Manila Council’s approval of shifting to MGCQ status will soon be dealt with by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and President Duterte.

In ending this, here are some videos about combatting the China virus.

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673