"People have learned to live with the virus pending the vaccine rollout."
Some local executives in Metro Manila may have the wrong notion that opening up the economy further, through a shift to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine, means the abandonment of health protocols recommended by health authorities.
These executives may not also be aware that more than a majority of the provinces in the Philippines, including those near Metro Manila such as Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Pampanga and Tarlac, are already covered by the more lenient MGCQ. Those under MGCQ presumably have fewer COVID-19 cases because of the successful management of the virus spread. Local executives in areas and provinces under MGCQ have done their part in containing COVID-19 cases.
Unfortunately, some local executives in Metro Manila cannot make the same claim. A few of them are doing a poor job in enforcing key health protocols, such as wearing face masks, social distancing and barring underaged children to roam around their territories. Some may have been amiss in the contract tracing department and slow to impose selective lockdowns in the barangay level in case of a spike.
A group of businessmen reminded those opposing the shift to MGCQ that people have learned to live with the virus pending the vaccine rollout. Retailers, information technology-business process management companies and the hotels and restaurants sectors are supporting the shift to MGCQ as soon as possible.
“There is a high level of consciousness among our people already in terms of the safety protocols, health protocols that need to be done and we can continue doing all of that in an MGCQ, in a more relaxed level. But the other benefits of a more relaxed level will help in reviving and reopening the economy. I am supportive of moving to a more relaxed level of quarantine,” says Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines chairperson Lito Tayag.
For Philippine Retailers Association president Rosemarie Ong, reopening the economy through the initial MGCQ level was the only way forward, noting that the Philippine economy is the least performing in Asia.
Those opposed to the MGCQ should rethink their position. Many workers have lost their jobs amid the pandemic. The jobless does not have the wherewithal to buy food and basic necessities, or pay for health expenses if he or a member of his family gets sick.