'Hindi natin kaya': ECOP thumbs down possible Alert Level 2 over Metro Manila

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2022 01:06 PM | Updated as of Jun 15 2022 05:42 PM

Children play different sports and games in Manila on the first day of Alert Level 1 on March 1, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Commuters queue at the Monumento station of the EDSA Bus Carousel in Caloocan City on June 13, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)— The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Wednesday urged the government not to raise the COVID-19 alert status of Metro Manila to level 2, as this would negatively impact the economy. 

ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis said the government should focus on solving the problem on hunger amid high fuel and food costs, instead of mitigating new COVID-19 cases. 

"Hindi naman talaga dapat pansinin kasi napaka-mild ng cases na yan at hindi naman siguro dumadami ang namamatay. Baka mas maraming mamatay sa gutom kaysa pansinin natin yan," said Luis in a public briefing.

(We should not prioritize these because they are just mild cases and the number of people who died were not that high. More people will die from hunger than prioritizing the uptick in cases.)

"Ako ayoko na ng... Alert Level 2 dahil hindi natin kaya pero paalala dapat yung mga protocols nating ginagawa, pag-iingat, ituloy natin, huwag nating pabayaan yan kasi yan ang advantage natin sa ibang bansa eh," he added. 

(For me, I do not want Alert Level 2 because our economy would not be able to handle it anymore. Our residents should follow protocols instead because that's our advantage from other countries.)

The capital region, home to some 13 million people, has reported an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with Quezon City recording a 111-percent increase in fresh infections last week. 

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The Department of Health warned that should infections and hospitalizations continue to climb, Metro Manila could have stricter quarantine restrictions. 

Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said some 640,000 families in Metro Manila might go hungry if there will be stricter quarantine restrictions. 

The increase in COVID-19 cases must be monitored instead of ignored, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. The capital region's alert level will only be raised when it reaches certain thresholds, she added.

"Hindi dapat ganyan ang ating pananaw sa nangyayari sa'tin. Hindi naman siguro wag pansinin, siguro i-closely monitor natin," she told reporters.

(That should not be how we view our current situation. Let's not ignore it but closely monitor it.)

"Kailangan di tayo complacent, kailangan tayo mas protektahan natin ang sarili natin ngayon. We have our masks, vaccines, mga protocols na sinusunod."

(We should not be complacent, we should protect ourselves more. We have our masks, vaccines, and protocols.)

For Dr. Nina Gloriani, chairperson of the country's Vaccine Expert Panel, individuals with health risks should instead follow a self-imposed lockdown measure to protect themselves from the rising COVID-19 cases. 

"Naisip ko nga lang, baka puwede namang modified alert level... yung mga may mga vulnerabilities, huwag na lang munang magsisilabas without disrupting yung others," she said. 

(I thought maybe we can modify the alert level. Those with vulnerabilities should not go out for now, as this would not disrupt other people.)

"Yun siguro yung nakikita ko na ma-momodify kasi babalansehin nang mabuti yon."

(That's what I am seeing right now -- modifying it. That would give balance.)

Philippines on Monday logged 257 new cases, 126 of which came from the National Capital Region, data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Data Analytics team showed. 

Data Analytics head Edson Guido noted that the number of active cases — 3,130 — is the highest in over a month or since May 12.