Malacañang said Thursday that the government cannot afford to place the National Capital Region (NCR) back under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) just yet because there is no budget for another cash aid for those who will affected by the lockdown.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. was responding to the suggestion of NCR mayors to implement a two-week ECQ in Metro Manila, provided that the national government will provide cash aid to affected residents.
“We assure the Mayors that we are closely monitoring the Delta variant, we are employing whole of nation approach. Hindi basta basta puede mag-ECQ sa Metro Manila. Hindi ko po alam kung meron tayong ayudang maibibigay,” Roque said.
(We cannot haphazardly resort to ECQ because I do not know if we can afford to give cash aid yet.)
“60 percent of our GDP (gross domestic product) is from NCR Plus 8. Under a complete lockdown, people will lose jobs. Habang tayo ay nasa moderate risk, hayaan po muna natin magtrabaho ang ating mga kababayan,” Roque added, referring to the declaration of the Health department that the Philippines is under moderate risk of COVID-19.
The NCR Plus 8 is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
Under the existing government policy, the government grants cash aid to affected residents in ECQ areas since the ECQ protocol limits movement to essential trip and operations of essential services.
Roque then stressed that the decision of the government to extend general community quarantine under heightened restrictions in NCR, which allows limited indoor dining and partial operation of non-essential services, is based on science and recommendation of competent experts.
“We have doctors, epidemiologists, political scientists. We welcome well meaning suggestions pero huwag sanang balewalain ang ginagawa ng gobyerno (The efforts of the government cannot be disregarded here),” Roque said.
“Hindi po sila magre-recommend ng makakasama sa atin (They will not make a recommendation that will harm us),” Roque added. -MDM, GMA News