Davao not keen on reverting to ECQ, cites ‘economic implications’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 November) — Even with the daily cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hitting record highs, the city government maintained it was not keen on reverting to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to its impact on the local economy.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, focal person for COVID-19 of the Department of Health (DOH) in the city, said in a virtual press conference over Zoom on Friday that the local government was considering all possible options to control the widespread transmission of the virus.

An empty highway along Talomo in Davao City when an enhanced community quarantine was still in effect. MindaNews file photo by GG BUENO

“When you try to deal with the quarantine status, you have to look for every possible consideration or factor. The surge is not the only thing that we are considering here… because if we are going to impose ECQ, is that what you want? ECQ? There are also economic implications, and President Duterte keeps on repeating that the government does not have money… we have to borrow money,” he said.

He said imposing ECQ or even modified ECQ will affect the business sector.

The entire city was placed under ECQ from April 4 to May 15, GCQ from May 16 until June 30, and modified GCQ last July 1 until the end of November.

Lopez said the city government, which derives its income from the business sector, could not sustain if it were to provide food assistance and other forms of subsidy to the affected persons for the duration of a stricter quarantine status.

“In my point of view, there are economic considerations that we should think about when we try to impose something, especially MECQ or ECQ. It will compromise so many, and primarily it will affect the business sector… What will we sustain for the people? If you impose ECQ or MECQ, you have to provide for each and everyone,” he emphasized.

He said local authorities have been in the thick of things on how to address the problem without resorting to ECQ or MECQ.

“We have been talking about this every now and then… As much as possible, we don’t want to impose ECQ or MECQ for as long as the city can handle it. That’s why, we’re doing everything—all the resorts that we could think about,” he said.

Asked to comment on the appeal of private doctors for a reversion to ECQ, Lopez said: “We received a letter… the mayor forwarded the letter to me this morning… We’re still trying to evaluate, and think about the request coming from the medical society.”

He added they are dealing with the pandemic from political, social and medical point of views.

As of Nov. 12, Davao City reported 4,901 cases, comprising 69% of the 7,058 total COVID-19 cases in the region, according to DOH-Davao. Of the total figure, 371 cases were recorded in Davao de Oro, 761 in Davao del Norte, 530 in Davao del Sur, 109 in Davao Occidental, and 386 in Davao Oriental.

Davao Region, considered the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Mindanao, has 2,131 active cases, 4,680 recoveries, and 247 deaths, DOH-Davao said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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