Neda chief to push for ‘modified lockdown’ in Luzon
MANILA, Philippines — Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Tuesday said he will propose a “modified lockdown” in Luzon region as the nations fights the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In an interview, Pernia said that he would make the proposal before the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in their meeting this afternoon.
“I would suggest that it would be some kind of a modified lockdown, maybe Metro Manila also easing some of the restrictions like transportation moving around, the opening of pharmacies and sources of food and other retail shops for basic needs of people,” Pernia said.
“In the Luzon area, especially Calabarzon, Central Luzon and certain other areas in upper north of Luzon, many of them are agricultural provinces. We need to wrap up our agricultural supply,” he added.
In Metro Manila, in particular, Pernia said that restrictions on movement of people is “still pretty tight.”
“We can loosen some of that. We need to go to our offices too because we have been working from home but we need to go to our offices and be able to look at what’s happening there and interact with our skeletal forces in the offices,” Pernia said.
Pernia is proposing easing of process in the transport of food and other goods from Northern Luzon to Metro Manila.
“The transport of goods for example from Benguet, from Baguio especially vegetables other agricultural products, fruits, the movement is still restricted because bringing vegetable cargo from the North to Manila, it has to be done by military transportation means I think,” Pernia said.
“That kind of easing in terms of letting the normal way of bringing them to Metro Manila can probably be eased up a bit,” he added.
Manufacturing for export should also be “revived”, Pernia added.
“Some manufacturing industries need to come back to life in terms of production and other retail businesses that would be useful in this time of limited consumption on the part of the population,” he said.
Public transport and education
Major companies should also be allowed to transport their workers via shuttle buses so that “physical distancing can be practiced within the transportation conveyances that passengers will be picking.”
In terms of education, Pernia said that a “modified” schooling, particularly for students in the primary level, should be discussed.
“As far as upper levels of schooling like tertiary as well as secondary, that can be more easily done using technology but for primary grades, that’s kind of difficult and in fact it is the primary grade children that you don’t want to go to be going to school and endangering their health,” Pernia said.
“So ‘yun ang sigurong kailangan i-discuss what may be the best way of continuing education in a modified manner for lower level schooling of students,” he added.
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