The Palace on Monday affirmed the national government’s strategy under the second phase of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19, where there is synergy in the responsibility in the fight against COVID-19 between the national government and the local government units (LGUs), the private sector, and the individual citizen.
This is in terms of stricter enforcement of localized or granular lockdowns and minimum public health standards by the LGUs in their localities, massive education and information campaign and also strict enforcement of public health standards and health protocols by private companies, and discipline in following quarantine protocols and minimum public health standards by every Filipino citizen.
“Alam nyo po sa paglaban natin sa COVID-19, importante po talaga na balansehin natin ang kalusugan at ekonomiya. Matapos po kase ng 100 days of lockdown, kinakailangan na talaga nating buksan ang ating ekonomiya. Kaya nga po ang sinasabi natin dapat ingatan ang buhay para po magkaroon tayo ng hanap-buhay,” stressed Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in his July 20 virtual press briefing.
This, said the Palace official, is one of the reasons why in the new National Action Plan, the LGUs have a bigger role to enforce protocols and implement the government’s anti-COVID-19 strategy.
“Ang mga lokal na pamahalaan po ay inaasahan nating sila na po ang magpapatupad ng tinatawag nating localized or granular lockdowns, at sila na rin syempre po ang magpapatupad ng mga ordinansa na nagtataguyod po ng ating wearing of masks, washing of hands, and social distancing at ang implementasyon ng pagbabawal sa pagtipon-tipon,” said Secretary Roque.
To further reiterate the importance of cooperation between the national government and the LGUs in the fight against COVID-19, Secretary Roque had Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Guiguinto, Bulacan Mayor Ambrocio “Boy” Cruz Jr. as resource persons in the said press briefing, where the two mayors discussed their respective COVID-19 response and strategies.
For the City of Manila, Mayor Domagoso reported that since the city is a beneficiary of a PCR machine from the national government, they are able to give free testing to their constituents and even from neighboring cities, with the LGU shouldering the miscellaneous costs involved in testing. Mayor Domagoso also shared that the City of Manila now has two sites for their drive-thru testing, one in Lawton and one in the Quirino Grandstand, and that they also launched a walk-in testing adjacent to hospitals.
Meanwhile, Mayor Cruz of Guiguinto shared that they recently inaugurated a PCR laboratory for the province of Bulacan, which is capable of doing 1,500 up to 5,000 tests per day, for as low as P2,000 per test. For Guiguinto, Mayor Cruz said that they also recently opened an isolation center with a capacity good for 25 people, adding that barangays in his municipality are strictly enforcing contact tracing and monitoring of the COVID-19 situation.
On another matter, Secretary Roque shared in the same briefing the signing of Republic Act No. 11480 or An Act Amending Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7797, otherwise known as “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar From 200 Days to Not More Than 220 Class Days.”
“Sang-ayon po sa Section 3 ng batas na ito na inamyendahan ng bagong batas, ang simula po ng ating pagpasok [sa eskwelahan] ay magsisimula ng first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August. Provided, that in the event of a declaration of a state of national emergency or state of calamity, the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education, may set a different date for the start of the school year in the country or parts thereof,” Sec Roque explained.
In RA No. 11480, it is up to the President to declare the date of the opening of classes, based on the recommendation of the Secretary of Education. “Nagbibigay lang ito ng flexibility kung kelan talaga mabubuksan ang klase pero sa ngayon po, sang-ayon naman sa batas, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Education, ang President po ang magde-deklara kung imo-move ang opening of classes,” said Sec. Roque.
The Palace spokesman further explained that unless a new recommendation is made by the Education Secretary, the initially announced opening of classes on August 24 may not be moved. ### OPS-PCOO