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Duterte adviser: Resume road works, poor folk resilient to COVID-19

President Rodrigo Duterte's adviser on entrepreneurship has suggested that government resume work on its road projects citing the dry weather and what he called the "resiliency" of poor folk against COVID-19.

In an online seminar hosted by the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines on Wednesday, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. "Joey" Concepcion said he suggested to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that the government’s “stimulus package should have an infrastructure component.”

"I mean, it’s time to get our workers to work all on our road networks because we are under the sun. I mean, it’s hot now," Concepcion said.

Concepcion indicated that there was minimal incidence of COVID-19 in poor communities according to priests and bishops.

"They all were unanimous in saying it is very minimal," Concepcion said.

"When we talked to the proponents of Caritas project, which involved about 30 business organizations, the same thing was relayed to them that many of the poor are somehow resilient to the virus," he added.

"Maybe because they are so used to so much exposure that they have a better immunity than us who are sheltered in well-protected environment," Concepcion said.

Concepcion then suggested that the strategy was to isolate the infected rather than locking down the “healthy.”

"That’s the same case I make: why shelter and lockdown the healthy? When we should, you know, isolate the infected,” Concepcion said.

“Moving forward, that should be the case. That should be the strategy,” he added.

The presidential adviser pushed for rapid mass testing as a way forward for “greater visibility” and to have a targeted approach in addressing the COVID-19 spread as this will allow businesses to resume.

“The only way to see [the enemy] is to test, then you create visibility,” Concepcion said.

The Presidential adviser is spearheading the Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits), a private sector initiative that promotes mass testing a part of a comprehensive strategy to reopen the economy after the lockdown. -NB/BAP, GMA News