MANILA – Only a handful of workers have been able to return to their jobs as Metro Manila started testing out a new 5-level alert system accompanied by granular lockdowns, a labor group said Friday.
Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 4, the second strictest of 5 alert levels under a new system, which means indoor dine-in and personal care services are allowed to operate at 10 percent capacity, while al fresco dine-in and personal care services that operate outdoors are permitted at 30 percent capacity.
Looser curbs on businesses are expected to bring back some P180 million to the economy every week, and allow 150,000 to 200,000 people to return to work, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said.
But Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog said many workers still haven’t been able to return to their jobs.
“'Yung 10 percent kasi napakaliit pa rin niyan ano, kumpara doon sa bilang ng mga manggagawang wala pa ring hanapbuhay," Labog told TeleRadyo.
(That 10 percent [capacity] is still very small compared to the number of workers still out of jobs.)
"So very limited pa 'yan, minimum of 10 percent and maximum of 30 percent. So marami pa rin sa mga ka-manggagawa namin, hindi pa rin luma-landing sa kanilang mga pagawaan,” he said.
(So that 10 percent minimum, 30 percent maximum [of venue capacity in establishments] is still very limited. So there are still many workers unable to go back to their workplaces.)
Labog also said that despite the willingness of some laborers to be vaccinated, rollout seems to be slow in some areas of the country.
He stressed, however, that vaccines are not the only key to reopening the economy. A holistic solution to the COVID-19 pandemic is needed, he said.
He cited how both public and private hospitals in Metro Manila were already full, with daily COVID-19 infections reaching record highs.
"Ang mahirap sa atin, 'yung public health care system, hindi talaga kayang matugunan 'yung level of infection, affliction ngayon na bumabalatay sa ating mga kababayan."
(The problem is the public health care system is unable to respond to the level of infection, affliction of the people.)
Many patients end up hopping from one facility to another to find vacant beds.
“Kung tatakbo ka naman sa mga private hospitals, ay kadalasan, kailangan mong may downpayment,” he said.
(If you run to private hospitals, you'd need a downpayment.)
“Kaya nga hindi pwedeng yung vaccination alone, kailangan talaga na magkaroon ng serious contact tracing, isolation, and massive treatment of those afflicted with COVID.”
(So we can't rely on vaccination alone, we have to have serious contact tracing, isolation and massive treatment of those afflicted with COVID-19.)
The Philippines has administered 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of September 16.
— TeleRadyo, 17 September 2021