Senate President Vicente Sotto III questioned the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a lockdown in Metro Manila amid the COVID-19 local transmission in the country.
On a statement, Sotto said that the lockdown of the National Capital Region (NCR) is going to affect the economy badly.
“NCR is the political and economic capital of the Philippines. The economy will grind to a halt as the flow of goods and people from the provinces to NCR, and vice versa, will be affected,” Sotto said in a statement.
“Preventing travel to and from Metro Manila with only 52 cases as this point is a textbook case of overreaction. This drastic measure will only result in panic and hoarding of goods,” he added.
According to him, inflation is also possible and it will affect the poor people living in NCR.
“The poor and the vulnerable sectors will be heavily-disadvantaged under this scenario, as they don’t have the resources to cope with any shortage of food and other necessities,” he said.
The Senate President then suggested that it’s better to do mass testing of people in Metro Manila instead do a strict containment than closing down Metro Manila.
“The solution lies in more testing of the population and strict containment of heavily-affected areas… The time is not ripe for placing entire communities, cities, and provinces under lockdown. Lockdown should be the last resort,” he said.
Sotto ordered a lockdown in Senate yesterday after a resource person tested positive for COVID-19.
According to some Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año the government is not going to impose a ‘total lockdown’.
He clarified that food and supplies are still allowed to enter NCR and people living outside the province can still travel inside and outside of Metro Manila.
“Lilinawin ko lang kasama dito sa kautusan na papayagan yung mga nagta-trabaho na pumasok at provided lang na mayroon silang I.D, mayroon silang pagpapatunay na ang work nila ay dito sa Manila,” he said.
Año explained that they’re doing a partial lockdown because they’re trying to avoid the same situation happened in Italy.
“Ayaw na nating umabot sa ganoong situation na parang nangyari sa Italy, so sabi nila it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” he said.