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) in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and chairman of the House committee on rules, however reminded concerned authorities and the public to consider science and maintain the basic health protocols, particularly social distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields.
“We have to provide jobs for the people after a series of disruptive lockdowns and we can only do that by gradually reopening our economy.
While we support the easing of restrictions, we should always be guided by science in opening our various industries,” said Romualdez, a lawyer from the University of the Philippines (UP) and president of 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.
“Oo kailangang magbukas na at nalalapit na ang Pasko at ang mga residente ng NCR ay kailangang magbalik hanapbuhay. Just maintain strict health protocols by LGUs (local government units),” said Lopez.
Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero also pushed for full reopening of economy in Metro Manila as vaccination of target population inches closer to 100%.
Romero urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to now open all businesses in the National Capital Region (NCR) to fully vaccinated individuals.
“With the NCR hitting over 80% of the target population now fully vaccinated, we need now to open our domestic economy to its full scale,” Romero, president of the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), suggested. “Back-to-normal life is now possible. This is exactly what the United States is doing and we should follow suite in order for our economy to gain traction.”
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco also supported the proposal to further ease COVID-19 restrictions in the NCR amid the steady decline in new infections as this would result in broader reopening of the economy.
“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,” Velasco said.
“The government’s aggressive vaccination campaign has given us 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. 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,” Velasco said.
“To sustain and build on the current momentum of the government’s vaccination efforts, may we ask the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to check the effectivity or efficiency of each brand of COVID-19 vaccines so as to give notice to our kababayans when they need to get a booster or get another round of vaccine,” Velasco added.