The Palace on Tuesday said the country can no longer afford to extend the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Mega Manila due to its direct impact to the economy.
Metro Manila and CALARBARZON have been placed again to MECQ as a government response to a widening call among medical institutions and frontliners for a ‘timeout’ in order to recalibrate their means to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The remarks came from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque after some suggestions to further extend the MECQ until the end of August.
“Tatapatin ko po kayo, hindi na po kaya ng ekonomiya ang mas matagalan pang lockdown,” he said in an online briefing.
While an ECQ might be the most ideal solution to mitigate the risk of spreading Covid-19, Roque said the national government is still looking for sources of funds for another tranche of cash assistance for low-income families.
He said the government is still waiting for Congress to pass the “Bayanihan 2” bill that contains a stimulus package for the country’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Senate last week passed the Bayanihan 2 bill while the House of Representatives has yet to pass their version of the measure.
Roque said that striking a balance between public health safety and the economy remains tricky.
“Ninanais naman natin na sabihin na ang ECQ talaga ang solusyon…pero kung wala na pong ayuda, mamamatay naman po sa gutom ang mamamayan kung hindi sila mamatay dahil sa Covid. So napakahirap po ng ganitong desisyon,” he said.