House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday expressed support to the reopening of the economy with the declining number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).
But Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and chairman of the House committee on rules, reminded the concerned authorities and the public to consider science and maintain the basic social protocols, particularly social distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields.
“We have to provide jobs for the people after series of disruptive lockdowns and we can only do that by gradually reopening our economy. While we support the easing of restrictions, we should alaways be guided by science in opening various businesses,” said Romualdez, a lawyer from the University of the Philippines (UP) and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).
Manila Rep. Manny Lopez, chairman of the House committee on metro manila development, said the government is left with no option but to reopen the economy to ensure livelihood for the people.
“There is a need to open up especially now that Christmas is coming. NCR residents should return to work. All that should be done is for the local governments to maintain strict health protocols,” said Lopez as he echoed Romualdez’s view.
Meanwhile, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco backed the proposed lowering of the Covid-19 Alert Level in Metro Manila.
“We fully support the proposal to further ease COVID-19 restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the steady decline in new infections as this would result in broader reopening of the economy,” Velasco said.
“Downgrading Metro Manila’s lockdown restrictions to Alert Level 2 would mean that more businesses will resume operations and operate at increased capacity, thus allowing more Filipinos to regain their jobs and income.”
He also acknowledged the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign, which has given the people ample protection against a possible surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Around 80 percent of NCR residents have been fully vaccinated, and 96 percent have received their first dose. Given these data, we can confidently reopen as many businesses as possible and get our economy back on track,” said Velasco.
He stressed: “Lowering the alert level in NCR as soon as possible could jumpstart the economy with increased consumer spending encouraging increase in production and economic activity, thereby bringing about employment opportunities for our kababayans. We can see this happening as the holiday season draws near.”
To sustain and build on the current momentum of the government’s vaccination efforts, Velasco asked the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases “to check the effectivity or efficiency of each brand of COVID-19 vaccine to give notice to our kababayans when they need to get a booster or get another round of vaccine.”
“We also urge those who have yet to be inoculated to avail of the vaccines procured by the national government. This is the only way to ensure the safety of everyone as we slowly go back to our normal lives, to the way things were before the pandemic.”
“Until then, let us continue to abide by the minimum health standards set by medical and science experts, such as wearing of face mask and maintaining physical distancing, for us to stay safe during the health crisis,” Velasco added.