Government may end wide lockdowns; LGU-led quarantines by September? | The Freeman
CEBU, Philippines — Local government units may soon determine quarantine classifications in their respective areas as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of COVID-19 recommends shifting from large-scale to granular lockdowns that may start in September 2021.
“Tinitignan natin ang petsang either September 8 or September 15 sapagkat ang NDRRMC ay nagrekomenda sa ating pangulo na i-extend yung State of Calamity dahil sa COVID for another year... So mas maganda na ma i-ja-jive natin dito sa ating new set of policy,” said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año in an interview with DZMM TeleRadyo.
Año said the Philippines has reached a point in time that it should “live with the virus” as more Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated by September.
“Parang ano ito, eh, parang ito na yung sinasabi nating living with the virus at hindi naman maapektuhan yung isang buong probinsya o isang city na hindi na makagalaw… at tama naman, by that time, mataas na rin ang ating vaccinated population. Nag-aadjust tayo sa changing time,” Año said.
The move will have to be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Paaaprubahan pa naman ito sa ating pangulo pero ang mangyayari dito ay wala nang malawakang lockdown kundi granular lockdown,” Año said.
Once approved, LGUs will also be given time to adjust to the new scheme, which may be implemented gradually per region.
LGUs will have a big role when this happens as they will determine the areas that will be put on lockdown like a subdivision, building, or barangay depending on the state of COVID infection.
“Magiging malaki ang papel ng mga LGU dito sapagkat sila na actually ang magde-determine ng kanilang quarantine community classification,” Año said.
Before imposing a granular lockdown, however, LGUs will still need approval from the regional IATF and the national task force.
“Halimbawa, sa isang LGU, magkakaroon siya ng authority na i-determine depende sa anong alert level kung anong areas niya under sa granular at yung ibang area naman sa GCQ para ma-continue yung kanyang economic activity,” Año said.
Once an area is placed on granular lockdown, even those classified as APOR (Authorized Persons Outside of Residence) will have to stay home, except for medical frontliners.
“Yung lockdown na ito sa ating pag-uusap... ang magiging exempted lang dito ay ang ating health care workers and all the rest ay hindi na pwedeng lumabas kung ikaw ay nandun sa granular lockdown,” said Ano.
It has reportedly been noted that APOR from areas with high cases of COVID-19 still go around and may be possible carriers of the virus.
Año assured that those who will be affected by a granular lockdown will be given aid by their LGU and by the national government.
“Unang-una, hindi ma sa-sacrifice ang ating economic activities, at the same time, matutugunan naman natin ang kailangan i-lockdown,” he said.
Once this shift materializes, the national government and the IATF will focus on areas under alert level 4.
“Ang national ay siya na lang ang magde-determine kung may mga specific na lugar na dapat iligay sa ECQ o yung tinatawag nating pinakamataas na lockdown. Pero, syempre, ito ay iba-ibang category depende sa alert level nila,” Año said.
He said na LGU may also implement a unified policy with its neighboring LGUs.
“Depende na rin yan... LGUs ay mayroon na ring kanyang discretion kung sila ba ay magkakaroon ng one policy. Pwede pa rin yun na magkakasundo sila at ang ating magiging attention ay duon sa mga may alert level 4 areas… yun talagang meron nang community transmission at di na bumababa ang CCUR (critical care utilization rate),” he said. - JMO (FREEMAN)