Senator Sherwin Gatchalian proposed a 60-day modified ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) after the Luzon-wide lockdown ends on April 30.
“Ang nakikita ko kasi dito, lumalaki yung testing capability natin. Ibig sabihin mas maraming ospital ang kakayahang mag-testing,” he told reporters in a virtual press conference.
(What I see here is our testing capability expands. It means more hospitals could conduct testings.)
“Importante kasi ang testing. Magte-test tayo para pag nahanap natin yung may positive, ika-quarantine natin siya, hindi na kailangang i-quarantine ang buong siyudad o buong Metro Manila,” he added.
(Testing is essential. Let us test so we could find those who are positive. We could quarantine them. We don’t need to quarantine the whole city or the entire Metro Manila.)
Gatchalian, however, said the modified ECQ enforcement would still depend on the findings and recommendations of scientists, health and medical experts, and on how the country flattened its COVID-19 curve.
He also said ECQ modification should also be based on whether or not the Philippines’ testing capacity nationwide could be from 15,000 to 20,000 each day.
“If less, then we have (to) carefully study if modified ECQ is still possible,” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson on modified ECQ
Senator Lacson meanwhile also supported a modified ECQ that is “still compliant with social distancing” to balance to issue of health and the economy.
“While we value the primacy of life and public health, it cannot be denied that the country’s economy should not be ignored,” he added.
The senator also said the Department of Health (DOH) should “accelerate massive rapid testing” to cover a “considerable number among our population, thus getting a more accurate infection rate.”
Lacson said the DOH could tap private health practitioners and health workers “under the auspices of a public-private collaboration wherein the business sector can help by subsidizing or spending for the deployment of those health personnel.”
“As it is, DOH is doing a too controlled and centralized and testing which they can’t undertake on a massive scale anyway for reasons known only to them,” Lacson said.
Senator Joel Villanueva also said that keeping Luzon under lockdown “for a very long period” would not be sustainable.