Cases in PH could’ve worsened if not for ‘draconian measures’ – DILG
MANILA, Philippines — The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines could have been half of Italy’s if “draconian measures” were not implemented, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this as he noted how the Philippines was a step ahead of Italy, Spain and even the United States in addressing the COVID-19 situation.
“We are always one step ahead of others like Spain, Italy and even US. If we do not implement draconian measures like this, we would be ending like at least half of Italy’s condition now,” Año said in a press briefing.
Italy has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world after China with over 69,000 infections and over 6,800 deaths.
The US and Spain trail behind Italy with over 53,000 cases and 39,000 cases, respectively.
“Kung hindi natin ginawa ito, baka ganun yung aabutin natin (If we didn’t do this, we might have suffered the same misfortune). Ang ating (Our) objective is to flatten the curve so that we can still, within our capacity, to treat positive cases and serious cases,” Año said.
The Philippines has so far confirmed 552 COVID-19 cases, of which 35 had already died.
The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine which limits the public’s movements is in effect until midnight of April 13.
The strict measure suspended public transportation services, prohibited mass gatherings and even closure of some businesses, excluding essential establishments like hospitals, groceries and drug stores.
Congress on Tuesday approved a bill declaring a national emergency and authorizing President Duterte to launch a massive aid program for 18 million families and tap private hospitals and ships in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
The President can reapportion the executive department’s budget under the legislation, which will also punish people disobeying quarantine orders and spreading “false information” about the outbreak, legislators said. The state of national emergency will last for three months but can be extended by Congress.
The Senate and the House of Representatives both held emergency sessions Monday and worked beyond midnight to deliberate the bill, with most lawmakers participating online as a health precaution. Duterte is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
Duterte has already locked down the main northern island of Luzon, home to more than 50 million people, by restricting travel to and from the region, which includes Manila, the capital. Most residents have been ordered to stay home and work and classes have been suspended under the monthlong containment.
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