Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is gearing the capital city up for the second week of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Domagoso, in an interview on ANC’s Headstart on Monday, cited Manila’s strategies in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Manila, and the rest of the cities and provinces in the NCR Plus bubble, has been under ECQ since March 29.
This was done by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to curb the rise of COVID-19 cases. Domagoso admitted that the current lockdown is even more challenging.
“Sa ekonomiya, masama na talaga [ang epekto nito] (The economy was badly affected),” he said.
“Pero kung ang pagbabasehan natin ay pagbibigay halaga sa buhay (But if we base it on the value of life), we should [do it] because [the rate of] infection cannot be denied. [We had] 15,000 the other day and 12,000 yesterday.”
Yet, Domagoso also noted that a total shutdown was not an option especially for the city of Manila since it was where the ports were located.
Domagoso said the LGU has continued its mass vaccination sessions throughout the ECQ. In fact, the mayor noted, the city is now fully compliant with the minimum requirement of having 1 percent of its A3 (persons with comorbidities) population vaccinated.
The total number of vaccinated A3 individuals in Manila reached 21,600 over the weekend. With the A1 (doctors, nurses, and other medical frontliners) and A2 (senior citizens aged 60 and above) categories included, Manila has already vaccinated a total of 43,603 people as of April 4.
“If the infection is fast, then the vaccination must be faster,” Domagoso had said in an earlier interview. Prior to the implementation of the ECQ, Manila had already been putting high-risk barangays under granular lockdowns. Any barangay
with 10 or more COVID-19 cases was placed on a four-day lockdown to give the LGU’s contact tracers ample time to trace all the individuals who had interactions with the infected subjects.
The implementation of the ECQ also means that Manila residents would be needing assistance once again. Fortunately, Manila already has an ongoing COVID-19 Food Security Program (FSP), which began in February this year.
“We created COVID-19 FSP even without the categorization of quarantine. This is meant to cushion the socioeconomic impact of this pandemic. It so happened na nagkaroon tayo ng ECQ kaya timing naman (It so happened, ECQ was declared, so it was timely),” Domagoso said.
Under the FSP, food boxes — which contain three kilos of rice, 16 pieces of canned goods, and eight sachets of coffee — are distributed to around 700,000 families in the city every month. The LGU was already able to do this for the months of February and March. “Now, within the week, we might start to give food items again,” the mayor added.
Domagoso had previously explained that the City of Manila’s budget had to be realigned to finance the FSP. Initially, P3 billion had been allocated for the program in the City of Manila’s 2021 budget. Last month, Domagoso signed an ordinance allotting an additional P1,427 billion for the FSP.
Domagoso explained that he and the Manila City Council decided to temporarily postpone some road projects in order to prioritize the FSP.
As for the aid from the national government, Domagoso explained that identifying who would be entitled to it would be based on the list of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaries and waitlisted beneficiaries.
The list will be provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Domagoso stated, “As of yesterday, we have more or less 366,000 possible beneficiaries based on the list given to us by the DSWD,” he said.
Under the latest ECQ aid plan, eligible Filipinos will get P1,000 worth of cash or goods each, while families can receive a maximum of P4,000 — or only up to four individuals receiving the P1,000 each.
Domagoso said the LGU has decided to give cash to the beneficiaries.