While suggestions for stricter lockdowns to curb the continuing increase in COVID cases may make sense at this time, such lockdowns should be time-bound to protect a still-battered economy, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Friday.
Lacson said an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)-type lockdown whose length is “open-ended” can threaten to kill the economy that has yet to recover from a similar measure last year.
“I would support a time-bound ECQ-type lockdown but only in areas with an unusually high number of COVID infections, so as not to further punish an already suffering economy. For now, these may include identified areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Visayas as the daily records would indicate,” Lacson said.
The time-bound nature will allow the business sector to “plan in advance their way forward and make adjustments in their business activities like production, marketing and the like,” he added.
“Hindi pwedeng lockdown na open-ended. Mamamatay ang ekonomiya natin,” Lacson said in an interview on ANC.
On the other hand, Lacson said the bulk of the roll-out of vaccines should be concentrated in these areas as well. “There is no saying that other regions will be completely denied their share of the vaccines,” he said.
Lacson also reiterated continuous study and assessment, along with the appropriate adjustments, hold the key to success in the government’s drive to vaccinate at least 70 million Filipinos to reach herd immunity.
“Prevention and cure should go hand in hand. This is where continuing assessment and corresponding adjustments in the plan already laid out should be made depending on the prevailing needs and priorities on the ground,” he said.
“If we do it always by the book without making adjustments to what’s happening on the ground, mamamali tayo,” he added.
Lacson reiterated he is all for the success of the vaccination drive, and of vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., so we can reach herd immunity soonest. He noted the biggest challenge now is the availability of the vaccines, while a second major challenge involves logistical requirements. A third challenge is the availability of inoculators.
“If there’s anyone who wants Sec. Galvez to succeed, it’s me,” he said.