Life or economy: Gov’t on a tightrope in COVID-19 response, says Dela Rosa
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Saturday said the national government is on a tightrope whether to allow the reopening of businesses or continue to impose a form of lockdown while threats of the potentially deadly coronavirus persist.
Talking to DWIZ, the legislator said among the first issues that will be discussed when Senate resumes session on May 4 is how to stop the spread of the virus and how to jumpstart the economy.
“Marami talagang kailangan pag-usapan pero unang-una talagang tutukan natin is yung buhay ng tao, paano natin maisasalba buhay ng mga tao na hindi na kakalat ang virus,” said dela Rosa. “Talagang hirap na hirap ang gobyerno pano i-balance ang situation.”
(We have many issues to tackle but the foremost focus must be on life, how can we save the lives of the people that transmission of the virus will be prevented. The government is really having a difficulty in balancing the situation.)
“Pangalawa na ‘yung economy, and kung paano natin idi-distinguish ‘yan. Ang naglalaban talaga ngayon, ang nag-uumpugan, ay kung ano ang ipa-priority natin, buhay o economy?”
(Economy comes second, and how will we distinguish that. The two issues really clashing right now is what must we prioritize, life or economy?)
According to the former national police chief, prioritizing life over economy, or economy over life is not that easy and that merely choosing one to work might mean compromising the other.
Dela Rosa also expressed fear that even if the Philippines contains the spread of the virus now, a second wave could happen and could be deadlier.
“May school of thought na nagsasabing pinapagana ang ekonomiya para gumanda ang buhay ng tao. Paano naman kung gumagana nga siya and at the same time masira naman buhay ng tao,” pointed out Dela Rosa, who even used the Spanish Flu pandemic as an example.
(There’s a school of thought that says economy must run to improve the lives of the people. What if the economy is indeed running and at the same time lives of many will be jeopardized.)
The Spanish Flu lasted from 1918 to 1919 and killed an estimated 17 million to 50 million people worldwide. A second wave of the Spanish Flu likewise proved more dangerous.
The Philippines has 8,928 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,124 recoveries and 603 deaths as of May 2. This gives the country a mortality rate of 6.75 percent, which is lower than the 7.11% mortality rate worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic also took a toll on the country’s economy as work was widely suspended due to the imposition of lockdown to avert the further spread of the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which causes respiratory ailment COVID-19.
According to the Asian Development Bank, the Philippines’ economy is seen to drop 2% this year from a 5.9% growth in 2019. Although it also predicted a massive 6.5% bounce back for the Philippine economy next year.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.