MANILA — The economy might "collapse" if Metro Manila goes back to a stricter pandemic lockdown, a senator warned Thursday, after Malacañang said the region would be a "living experiment" on battling the novel coronavirus.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of gross domestic product, might revert to MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine if coronavirus infections breach the 85,000 mark.
The health department on Wednesday confirmed 85,486 cases of COVID-19, of which 56,528 are active.
“The economy will probably collapse if we go back to MECQ,” warned Senate finance committee chairman Sonny Angara.
"That type of approach is not really the model approach. The model approach is trying to live with COVID, not trying to avoid COVID," he added.
MECQ will restrict public transportation and businesses will be required to operate at a lower capacity.
The lockdown approach is “trying to postpone the inevitable,” said the senator.
"Parang sasabihin mo, ‘Next week na lang natin gawin iyan,'" he told ANC.
(It’s like saying, Let’s just do it next week.)
"But really, at some point in time you have to face it. You have to live with the virus. You have to increase your testing, whether you’re a private company or you’re the government," he said.
Roque on Wednesday declined to reveal the would-be quarantine status of Metro Manila starting Aug. 1. Instead, he said the region would be "a living experiment and it’s an experiment that we believe we can be successful at, and it will be something that we can be proud of."
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce quarantine levels for Metro Manila and the rest of the country on Thursday.