Editorial: A step back?

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio announced on Monday that the Inter-agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended that the city reverts to a general community quarantine (GCQ).

Davao City shifted to a modified GCQ (MGCQ) on July 1 but with strict local action being applied on localized community quarantine, zoning, strict enforcement of minimum health standards, scale-up of health system capacity, isolation of overseas Filipinos, locally stranded individuals, and close contacts.

Compared to other major urban centers in the country, the increase in Covid 19 cases in the city is not as drastic. But that does not mean we have to let our guards down. The city government and the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH-Davao) has never failed to remind the public of their responsibility to observe health protocols amid the pandemic.

Sadly, since the MGCQ, the city recorded 147 new Covid-19 cases from July 1 to 13. Data from DOH-Davao showed that as of July 13, the city now has 562 Covid-19 cases with 373 recoveries, 30 deaths, and 159 active cases.

It can also be noted that active cases increased by 64 percent to 159 on July 13 from 97 on July 1.

To those who are saying that a shift from Modified GCQ to GCQ makes no difference, you do not fully understand the situation. A step back to GCQ means that the increasing number of cases in the city is worrisome. Shifting to GCQ also does not bode well for businesses that are trying to get back on their feet.

One must understand that GCQ is only a step away from an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Under ECQ, businesses will have to close again, which could mean less income for these businesses. Less income would also mean, more employees will be let go and more businesses will have to close their doors. The effects of economic collapse are something that we have to worry about. A city without businesses will barely be able to generate income to provide for the needs of its constituents.

Duterte-Carpio already said the city cannot afford another lockdown, as it will have a huge impact on the city's economy.

Let us not say that a shift to GCQ has no difference with the city being placed under MGCQ. There is a big difference if you look at it closely and think about it closely.

Earlier, the mayor said the city is not keen to revert to a GCQ or ECQ.

"Wala ta'y ing-ana nga plano nga mag-appeal sa ECQ or GCQ (We do not intend to make an appeal for us to be reverted back to ECQ or GCQ)... We will, instead, try to catch up or cope sa atong situation nga naka (in our situation while we are under) MGCQ 'ta, and increase our [detected confirmed] cases," Duterte-Carpio said.

Before the IATF issues its final decision today, the mayor said on Monday they will appeal to the IATF to allow the city to remain under MGCQ.

"We will try to appeal because there is a remedy allowed sa mga LGUs nga mag appeal sa ilahang classification (LGUs are allowed to appeal their classification)," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

There is a delicate balance between imposing restrictions and reopening the economy. Open the economy too much, you have the risk of straining the health system because of the potential for Covid-19 cases to spike. You close the economy too long, you risk an economic collapse where businesses shut down, people lose jobs, and the government has no source of income to provide for its people.


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