More lawmakers on Sunday supported for the call of the medical community to place Metro Manila anew under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) because health workers are already exhausted due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals.
In a statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto urged President Rodrigo Duterte to hear the calls of the frontliners “without filter,” pointing out that if their suggestion would cure the patients and at the same time prevent health workers from falling ill, “there’s no choice but to follow it.”
“For this circuit breaker to succeed, government must heed the doctors’ orders. It must meet the health community’s service and sacrifices with greater resolve and resources. The timeout they are calling for is actually a challenge for government to work double time,” Recto said.
“The search for this elusive sweet spot begins with this: Mr. President, please make time to personally listen to the physicians. Hear their frontline stories firsthand and without filter. It is time for you to set an appointment with the doctors,” Recto added.
For his part, Senator Richard Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine Red Cross, also advised the government to consider the plight of the medical frontliners in the decision to impose the quarantine levels.
Gordon pointed out that the country’s healthcare system is already overwhelmed and the many isolation facilities have reached full capacity.
“Dapat pag-aralang mabuti ‘yan (retaining GCQ status) dahil ang frontliners natin pagod na pagod na, marami ng nagkakasakit sa kanila. Sa Red Cross, ‘yung mga MedTech namin, naco-COVID na rin,” Gordon said.
“Dapat pag-aralan lahat ‘yung mga suggestion nila, some are very meritorious, na dapat ipahinga muna ‘yung mga doctor…pati isolation facilities natin ngayon, punung-puno, ‘yun ang problema. It should be considered as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, meanwhile, said that the relief and recovery of the people’s health should be the priority over business in critical areas.
“The plea of the medical experts and healthcare frontliners for more stringent health protocols in critical areas must be heeded by the Duterte administration, while the call for ‘business as usual’ must temporarily be put on hold or selectively implemented,” Lagman said.
“We must learn from the bitter lesson experienced by other countries like Japan which prematurely reopened economic, leisure and domestic travel activities only to be besieged later by a resurgence of the viral contagion,” Lagman also said.
Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor also backed the appeal of the medical community to bring back Metro Manila to ECQ to allow the re-calibration of strategies against COVID-19.
“If our leading doctors are prescribing it, then as good patients, we are all for Mega Manila’s brief return to an ECQ,” Defensor, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Health, said.
“Our sense is, our public health system is on the verge of collapse, and the momentary return to an ECQ will buy everybody more time to gird for a longer battle against the coronavirus disease,” he added.
Duterte will be meeting with some Cabinet officials later in the day to discuss the call of the medical community, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque./Stacy Ang