Luzon lockdown extension to April 30 ‘reasonable’: Sotto
President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to extend the Luzon lockdown to April 30, 2020 “seems to be reasonable,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday, shortly after the executive branch approved the prolonged quarantine of the Philippines’ most populous island.
The month-long lockdown was extended by 2 weeks as the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continue to rise in the Philippines, where mass testing is expected to begin next week.
“April 30 extension seems to be reasonable considering the fact that Department of Health (DOH) has no clear projection yet of how things are evolving. Better safe than sorry!” Sotto said in a statement.
Other senators agreed with the Senate President’s statement, saying the lockdown extension is “justified.”
“Lockdown extension to April 30 is justified. Testing can catch up, we can gauge real public health situation,” said Sen. Sonny Angara, who recently recovered from COVID-19.
“Turkey has not imposed quarantine/lockdown– now has fastest growing virus rate faster than Italy, Spain, USA,” he said.
Lifting the Luzon lockdown “while the rate of infection of COVID-19 is still increasing will result in many more deaths,” Sen. Joel Villanueva said in a separate statement.
“It will lead to another longer lockdown which will damage the economy even more,” he said.
Congress earlier passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to provide cash aid for some 18 million families who may have lost their income during the 2-month work stoppage due to Luzon’s enhanced community quarantine.
Under the law, each beneficiary will receive a month stipend of P5,000 to P8,000 for 2 months to ensure that Filipinos will not starve and that the economy will not slow down.
Other government agencies have also provided relief packages to avoid businesses from declaring bankruptcy due to the lack of income for 2 months.
The government has been trying to come up with more solutions to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus, as Health officials said COVID-19 cases in the country are expected to increase when the mass testing program begins next week.— By Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News