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2nd phase of Nat’l Action Plan vs. COVID-19 a product of ‘listening gov’t’ —Galvez

The second phase of the government’s so-called National Action Plan (NAP) to address the COVID-19 pandemic took into consideration various recommendations from all fronts, according to its chief implementer.

In a statement released late Friday, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implement of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19, said the NAP 2 uses the “Hammer and Dance Theory,” in which “the government shall continue to contain the spread of the virus through its zoning containment strategy or targeted lockdowns, while slowly rebuilding the economy.”

“The government, however, acknowledges the reality that it cannot do all of these by itself. It will need the support of everyone, particularly the private sector, so that it would be able to achieve the main objectives of NAP’s phase 2 —to ensure the health and welfare of the people, while reviving the nation’s economy,” Galvez said.

“This is the reason why NAP phase 2 was designed to implement ‘rolling’ crisis management plans,” he said.

The NTF chief implementer said the plan is the product of a “listening government,” which takes into careful consideration the recommendations coming from all sectors of society.

“So, when the medical community requested for a ‘time out’ to give its members the chance to recover, the government heeded its call and placed NCR and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ),” Galvez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan under MECQ from August 4 to 18 following pleas from the medical community for an enhanced community quarantine as “time out” amid rising COVID-19 cases being admitted to hospitals.

“We were able to do this because we had a plan that gave us more elbow room and greater flexibility. We knew that fighting a pandemic cannot be done using a linear approach; it needs a systems thinking strategy that utilizes the government’s gamut on crisis response, resources and logistics, and problem-solving expertise,” Galvez said.

The Cabinet official said the government acknowledges the need to continually recalibrate the nation’s response against the COVID-19 pandemic “so that it may be able to quickly and decisively respond to challenges brought about by the health crisis as they arise.”

He recalled that in March, the Duterte administration crafted the first phase of the NAP address the health crisis. 

Galvez said the plan prevented the spread of the virus to as much as 1.3 to 3.5 million people from being infected, citing a study conducted by the University of the Philippines. 

“The government’s decisive action saved at least 100, 000 lives in the country, the World Bank said in a statement,” he said.

The second phase, which now being implemented, he said is focused on ensuring the health of Filipinos, while breathing life into the nation's economy.

“It aims to sustain the gains achieved under the initial phase of the NAP, to continue the government’s effort to scale up the capacity of our country’s health system to address the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, to lower the fatality rate both for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases, and to prepare the Filipino people as the country transitions to the ‘new normal’,” he said.

“Moreover, it seeks to create a balance between ensuring the Filipino people’s health and safety, while slowly reviving the people’s livelihood and the nation’s economy,” he added.

The chief implementer said the government hall continue to focus on scaling up the nation’s health care capacity by establishing more ICU and isolation beds, testing laboratories, referral hospitals, swabbing centers, and quarantine facilities throughout the country.

“We shall also ensure that our health frontliners in the government and private sector are protected and are able to receive all the benefits and support they need, as we establish the conditions where people can safely go to work and businesses can resume their operations,” he said.

“We will hire 10,000 healthcare workers to ensure that our doctors and nurses are rested, motivated and rejuvenated to face this long-drawn battle against COVID-19,” he said.

The government will also continue to strictly implement health and safety standards across all quarantine classifications, as well as further increase our testing capacity and contact tracing capability especially in high-risk communities, and consequently, curb the spread and mitigate the impact of the disease by effective isolation, quarantine, and treatment of COVID-19 cases.

“My fellow Filipinos, we have a very good plan to fight this pandemic. It is called the National Action Plan Against COVID-19. We, therefore, call on everyone to support it. This will ensure our health, safety and future, as we recover and heal as one nation,” Galvez said.

“I am appealing for your understanding, patience, and call of duty to protect yourselves from the pandemic by strictly observing the minimum health standards of social distancing, wearing of masks and face shields, and personal hygiene. Let us work together and fight together,” he said.

As of Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country went up to 122,754. Of this number, 66,852 recovered while 2,168 died. —KG, GMA News