Abolish task force and let local governments lead fight vs COVID-19 – senator | Inquirer News
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Abolish task force and let local governments lead fight vs COVID-19 – senator

/ 12:03 AM September 29, 2021
Sen. Joel Villanueva

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Finance Subcommittee J, presides over the hybrid hearing on the proposed 2022 budgets of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), Games and Amusement Board (GAB), and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 (Photo by VOLTAIRE F. DOMINGO / Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — The  Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, should be abolished as it has stopped being effective for “quite a long time,” Sen. Joel Villanueva suggested on Tuesday.

“I have a more radical idea in addressing this COVID-19 pandemic,” Villanueva said during the budget hearing at the Senate of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

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Now speaking partly in Filipino, he said: “As we have seen, the IATF, nothing. It’s not working, Why don’t we just consider removing this IATF. Let’s just give it [the task] to the LGUs [local government units]? They know better.”

“Let’s abolish the IATF. I hope it’s also an option to look into — that the LGUs will be empowered. They know better. They’re doing better — these LGUs — than the national government,” he added.

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Villanueva made the proposal after Sen. Sonny Angara pushed for less stringent regulations in restaurants for vaccinated customers and Sen. Imee Marcos sought the scrapping of curfews.

“We’re very much against curfews which I think are a bizarre reaction to the pandemic,” Marcos pointed out during the hearing. “Lockdowns really have to be rethought carefully.”

Angara brought up the sentiments of some restaurants about restrictions on their operations.

“They’re asking that they be given some leeway to provide some regulation for vaccinated diners,” Angara said. “Maybe, the percentage requirement [on customers allowed in at any one time], or the capacity requirements, can be relaxed if they are vaccinated in an enclosed area.”

READ: Restaurant sector urges gov’t: Trust the vaccinated

“Maybe that’s something you can look into and discuss in your meetings,” he asked DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Lopez agreed with both Marcos and Angara, saying that curfews should be removed or pushed back “as late as possible.”

“The tourism sector, the restaurant sector — what is really needed here is the policy to reopen more,” he said.

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TAGS: DTI, IATF, Imee Marcos, Joel Villanueva, LGUs in fight vs COVID-19, Sonny Angara
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