MANILA, Philippines — Several business owners are calling on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to place the National Capital Region under alert level 2.
This is after the nation’s capital registered around 3,000 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Monday.
The group perceived this as a start of the declining number of new cases as a result of the government’s vaccination rollout.
“Dapat binaba na yan noon pang September after August (noong) binago ang sistema. Wala na akong nakikitang rason kung bakit ang dami pang hindi makapagtrabaho, ang dami pang hindi makapasok, said Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr, President of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).
The group calls on the government to allow them to adjust their operation amid the pandemic, noting that they do not see any reason why Metro Manila should not be placed under a lower alert level.
“Yung cases on its own wala namang ginagawang espesyal. Tuloy-tuloy lang naman ang bakuna. Wala namang nagawang espesyal e bumababa na talaga palagay ko for obvious reason na may cycle din siguro. At saka nagkakaroon ng immunity dahil sa vaccine siguro,” Ortiz-Luis said.
ECOP believes that should the economy fully open, businesses will have the opportunity to recover from their losses brought by the COVID-19 crisis.
The government’s technical advisory group on COVID-19, however, said they still need to further study the proposal.
“Kailangan po talagang pag-aralan yan. Alam naman natin very dynamic naman ang ating IATF sa pagtingin ng numbers. Yung number sa data graph ang important po. Yung on the ground po. Yung MMDA mayors na tinitingnan po talaga kung paano nagbibehave ang mga tao,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group.
Malacañang, on its part, appeals to the public not to be too complacent amid the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the need to observe the minimum health protocol is still the same.
“Bagamat ang datos nagpapakita nga po na maaaring magbaba sa alert level ang Metro Manila, importante huwag tayong magpabaya. Huwag tayong mag-isip na walang pandemya. Nandiyan pa rin si COVID-19. Magpatuloy pa tayo at lalong paigtingin ang mask, hugas, iwas,” he reiterated.
On the other hand, should the IATF approve the placement of NCR under Alert Level 2 in mid-November, business establishments will also be allowed to operate with up to 50% indoor capacity and 70% capacity outdoors. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)