Execs, biz groups oppose strict quarantine for Western Visayas
ILOILO CITY—Local governments and business groups in Western Visayas are appealing the national pandemic task force’s plan to place the region under strict quarantine, saying residents cannot afford another hard lockdown.
They also pointed out that COVID-19 cases in the region have gone down after a surge in previous weeks.
Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao said the governors and mayors in Western Visayas were one in calling for a status quo since escalating the quarantine restrictions in the region would further hurt the economy.
“The rate of closure among micro and small enterprises is fast and our government agencies do not have enough capacity and resources to provide for the food and social amelioration programs for the affected workers and their families,” said Terence Uygongco, president of Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc., in a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The IATF recommended that the province and city of Iloilo be put under the highest level enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), from July 16 to July 31.
It also recommended that the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Capiz (including Roxas City) and Bacolod City be placed under MECQ.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said there was no need to place his city on ECQ since their number of daily cases had dropped. He also cited the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The MECQ status of the city which began more than a month ago has crippled our economy, leaving many of our constituents in want … We reiterate that we cannot afford another hard lockdown,” he told the IATF.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr., said another ECQ, together with the accompanying measures of strict home quarantine, substantial closure of establishments and stoppage of public transport, was no longer sustainable given the state of their economy and the psychosocial well-being of their citizens.
Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores said putting the province under MECQ would severely affect its tourism sector, especially Boracay Island.
“This dreadful public health crisis is not about to end very soon. We cannot be in perpetual community quarantine simply because we cannot command the virus to cease and desist,” Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia told the IATF.
Roxas City Mayor Ronnie Dadivas said the active cases in his city also dropped and they now had to revive their businesses.
—NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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.