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ECQ hits the poor

"It's only for two weeks, but it will seem like an eternity to those who must earn their daily wages."

 

 

Santa Banana, Enhanced Community Quarantine will be in force again beginning August 6!

I am almost 94 and my wife is almost 90.  At our age, ECQ does not really matter to us as it does to the poor who must work and earn a living. They will bear the impact of the restrictions. 

My wife and I do not go out anymore except for doctor’s consultations. But, my gulay, how about the poor who struggle to keep body and soul together? 

They say that Metro Manila’s lockdown is needed to arrest the rise in COVID-19 cases amid the presence of the more contagious Delta variant.

But there is another consequence—it will deter economic recovery and cost billions in lost opportunities. 

Santa Banana, even the stock market is tumbling down!

The ECQ may only be in force for a couple of weeks, but it will seem like an eternity to those who must earn their daily wages.

Surveys tell us that millions of jobs have been lost and hunger and poverty have worsened. 

Even the vaccine rollout provides no comfort for those who must toil daily!

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the number of jobless Filipinos within that period will be up to 444,000 and the poor will increase by 177,000. Santa Banana, that’s no joke!

* * *

I cannot blame President Duterte for cancelling his earlier order to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after talking to US Defense Chief Lloyd Austin. 

Duterte must keep the balance of power in line with his independent foreign policy. With the continued presence in joint military exercises with the US forces, Duterte has to show China that the Philippines is not entirely submissive to it. Actually, the US defense chief is visiting the US allies in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Singapore, together with Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

This trip of the US Defense chief to these countries in Southeast Asia is a reassurance from US President Biden and his administration that the US will maintain its presence in this part of the world. This is a strong message to China. For Duterte, his cancellation of the earlier order to terminate the VFA is needed to maintain the balance of power.

* * *

The Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto tandem claims that they are neither administration nor opposition. But, with the chairmanship of Lacson of Partido Reporma, they are definitely with the opposition. 

Recall that Pantaleon Alvarez was ousted as speaker of the House of Representative by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Thus, the chairmanship of Lacson of this party in effect makes the Ping-Tito tandem opposition. 

The claim then is a lot of bull. 

In the 2022 polls, a candidate is either administration or opposition. That’s elementary.

Lacson, running for President, needs a political party because the rule of the Comelec requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to belong to a political party to be able to have the presence of watchers in the counting of votes.

* * *

Speaking of ECQ, the government has to fund and compensate those works that need funding. Small businesses are expected to suffer.

The country’s chief economist, Karl Chua, warned of billions of pesos of losses resulting from the ECQ. The problem now is, where will the money come from?

This will be the third ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR) since the pandemic was declared in 2020. The first and longest was from March 16 to May 15, 2020, which crippled the economy. The second was from March 29 to April 11 this year, during the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Budget Department is actually at a loss as to where the aid will come from. President Duterte has approved a P1,000 cash aid per person and a maximum of P4,000 per family in areas under ECQ.

Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, said that the money would come from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and from the Development’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

* * *

People have been asking me what I think Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has been doing. Frankly, I don’t know, and I can only rely on some sources who provide me with some information.

They say that Sara has been consulting political leaders not only from Mindanao and Visayas to organize Hugpong ng Pagbabago. In other words, she has been quite busy organizing her party nationwide.

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile told us in our 365 weekly forum via Zoom that he was surprised that even in the province of Cagayan, and even in the rest of Northern Luzon, there is a Hugpong ng Pagbabago presence.

Well good luck, Sara.

Topics: Enhanced Community Quarantine , lockdown , COVID-19 , National Economic and Development Authority
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