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COVID-19 lockdown of Metro Manila will cripple economy —Tolentino

The proposal to lockdown the whole of National Capital Region amid the rising number of novel coronavirus cases in the country should be carefully studied, Senator Francis Tolentino said on Tuesday.

The former Metro Manila Development Authority chairperson said the measure would be "very extreme".

"'Yung proposal na lockdown sa Metro Manila, very extreme na 'yun e. Hindi naman ngayon kagaya ng Lombardy sa Italy, or ng Wuhan sa China, so dapat siguro araling mabuti yun kasi malaki ang epekto sa ekonomiya," Tolentino said.

"Nandito lahat, Philippine Stock Exchange, Central Administrative Region, Central Government. It will cripple the entire economy of the nation if you do that so aralin mabuti 'yun," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte was also not in favor of a region-wide lockdown.

“We have not reached that kind of contamination. There will be a time, I suppose, I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on the Filipino people. It’s too early," Duterte said.

Tolentino said he was in favor of localized lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

"Certain areas, barangays especially, 'yung identifed na may positive, maraming positive, pwede 'yun. Pero 'yung entire Metro Manila, kasi nag-MMDA din ako noon, ang laki nito. So wala, tigil tayo, stand still tayo, as a nation," Tolentino said.

He also urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Audit to recognize the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a ground for local government units' declaration of a state of calamity as warranted depending on the number of positive cases.

"It would unleash the utilization of calamity funds, that would enable them to setup the appropriate medical emergency mechanisms, to deal with the situation," Tolentino said.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 33 on Tuesday. —NB, GMA News

Tags: covid-19, news, metro