A commuter group has appealed on Monday to President Rodrigo Duterte to order selective quarantine in Metro Manila and not a total lockdown.
This, PASADA CC appealed, in a statement issued after they received information that a total lockdown will be declared by Duterte on Monday.
PASADA CC is a non-governmental organization which aims to safeguard the rights and welfare of Filipino consumers and commuters.
“The ensuing chaos and mess at checkpoints set up by the Duterte administration may possibly strain our health responders, namely elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police as well as our health workers. Such a scenario looms large as today’s events show,” the group said.
“Today’s exercise just shows the sheer insanity of the planned NCR-wide community quarantine proposed by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” they also said.
The group said, instead of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 right on its tracks, the monstrous volume of people massing up infront of checkpoints show that the proposal to quarantine the entire Metro Manila is a futile and frankly, stupid enterprise. Without social distancing, which is quite impossible to do at these checkpoints, the possibility of infestation and contagion is now doubly high at these areas now.
Basing on experiences by several countries, the group urged Duterte to consider this epidemic disease as a health emergency rather than a national security threat.
“We should ensure that our health responders are themselves protected against this deadly disease by equipping them with the proper equipment not just thermal scanners, but protective suits, gloves and facemasks before deploying them in these checkpoints,” they said.
As a health emergency, the emphasis is on stopping the spread of the disease thru proper health surveillance, detection, isolation and containment of infected individuals and giving them proper medical assistance.
By delimiting the scope of the quarantine, the health responders as well as force multipliers such as soldiers and cops will not be stressing themselves and stretching state resources as well.
“We urge President Duterte to do selective quarantine. We propose that Duterte order community quarantine in Quezon City, Pasig and Manila first. These are areas geographically distant yet with confirmed new cases of COVID-19 virus infestation. By limiting resources first in these areas, our health responders would be able to plan more effectively, and do health surveillance more thoroughly and effectively,” the group said.
After the initial three cities inspected and surveilled for a week, PASADA CC proposed that respondents then shift their focus on the other areas until scoping and surveilling the entire NCR is complete.
However, even after three cities are deemed safe from COVID-19 contagion, the group advise that continuous health surveillance be undertaken for a month to ensure that no new outbreaks occur.
“The period is still 30 days yet, through selective quarantine, we will be able to avoid stretching resources, stressing our responders and our health experts would be able to thoroughly and meticulously do their job of identifying, isolating, surveilling and containing the spread of this virulent strain of the coronavirus,” the group said.
Selective quarantine also will allow cities not under quarantine to continue their normal economic and social activities, while under health surveillance operations also by health responders. This will avoid major disruption in economic activity, PASADA CC said.
Mitigation measures against the spread of epidemic diseases must not be viewed on a national security perspective but on a health perspective. Emphasis should be on the promotion of the whole of nation approach instead of using strong arm tactics to address a serious health crisis, they said.
Established in 2013, PASADA CC strives to become one of the country’s top advocates of consumer and commuter welfare and safety./Stacy Ang