AN ORGANIZATION has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to explain how granular hard lockdowns lower Covid-19 cases.
"What is the logic of a granular hard lockdown when the government would simultaneously allow international travelers to come into the country? We don't know what to make of the Malacanang and IATF's decision," said Anakpawis national president Ariel Casilao. "It's senseless and unproductive."
In Mabalacat City and other parts of Pampanga, local government units have placed under granular lockdown villages with high number of Covid-19 cases.
Citing economic recovery as a reason, the government this week lifted the travel restrictions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia starting September 6, 2021, according to the group.
"Inalis ang travel restrictions pero magpapatupad ng granular lockdown. Hindi na talaga alam ng IATF ang ginagawa nito at kung anu-ano na lang ang ipinatutupad nila. They're experimenting with policies and still haven't presented a clear and comprehensive response to the raging pandemic, now worsened by the community transmission of the Delta variant," Casilao said.
"The Covid numbers continue to rise at an alarming state," he added.
"We don't want to continue counting the sick and the dead. We want concrete and effective solutions to the pandemic," the Anakpawis leader said.
Casilao said the government's policies and budget priorities remain skewed.
"How can we expect a health-centric pandemic response when the government wants to implement budget cuts for public hospitals?" Casilao asked.
Out of the P5-trillion proposed national budget for 2022, the DOH will only get P242.22 billion or 4.82 percent, he said.
National government hospitals, including the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Philippine Heart Center, have budget cuts for their Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), according to Casilao.
The country's top Covid referral hospital, the Philippine General Hospital's MOOE, is down by P130 million and has zero capital outlay for 2022, he said.
Casilao said that DOH subprograms like the Family Health, Immunization, Nutrition, and Responsible Parenting and Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases will also receive lower budgets.
"Sapat na badyet at tamang patakaran ang kailangan tugon sa pandemya. Hindi kailangan ng masa si Secretary Duque at pangungurakot ng iilang tiwali sa gobyerno," he said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority has listed Covid-19 as the fifth leading cause of death next to heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, neoplasma, and diabetes, Casilao added.
For two days in a row, the country breached the 20,000 cases mark, bringing the total number of Covid cases to over two million.
As of September 5, new cases registered at 20,019, raising the total number of Covid-19 cases to 2,080,984.30