DTI Ensures No Hard Lockdowns Amid New Surge of COVID-19 in the Philippines
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) guarantees business groups that there will be no hard lockdowns despite the rising COVID-19 cases, driven by the new omicron variant.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) revealed that the assurance was given by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez during the inaugural courtesy of the group’s new board of directors and officers.
Lopez stated that instead of hard lockdowns, restrictions will be imposed on the mobility of unvaccinated individuals.
Members present during the inaugural meeting were PCCI President George Barcelon, Vice President Felino Palafox, Vice President Eunina Mangio, Vice President Perry Ferrer, Director, and Treasurer Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Directors Samie Lim and Alfredo Yao, former President and Chairman Alegria Sibal Limjoco, Past Presidents Alberto Fenix and Edgardo Lacson, Area Vice President for South Luzon Sallie Lacson, Area Vice President for National Capital Region Tess Ngan Tian and Secretary-General Ruben Pascual.
Other DTI officials were also present in the meeting namely, Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty and Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte.
Throughout the meeting, Lopez reassured the business groups that the government is doing its best effort to guarantee the safety of both people and businesses.
Lopez noted, “With a high level of the vaccination program and medical treatment already put in place, we may have to change some protocols toward favoring the vaccinated instead of implementing lockdowns.”
Lopez mentioned that the mobility of unvaccinated people will be limited compared to those inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lopez expressed that the protocol may be implemented not just in Metro Manila but in the entire Philippines, through the issuance of guidelines by Local Government Units (LGUs).
Furthermore, Lopez conveyed that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is also considering the execution of home-based antigen testing to add protection for asymptomatic individuals.
Barcelon welcomed the proclamation as a no lockdown policy is foreseen to bestow stability to businesses and sustain the economy’s recovery.
Barcelon expressed, “We are happy that the government is no longer imposing hard lockdowns as a safeguard measure against increasing Omicron cases. Otherwise, it would be difficult again for our economy to recover if businesses will be shut down.”
In addition, Barcelon urged once more for the group to be a part of IATF, doing so will allow them to relay the issues and concerns of the business sector properly.
Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna have been placed under Alert Level 3 from January 3-15.
Meanwhile starting January 9, the provinces of Bataan, Batangas, Cagayan, Pampanga, Zambales, as well as the cities of Angeles, Baguio, Dagupan, Iloilo, Lapu-Lapu, Lucena, Naga, Olongapo, and Santiago would also be placed under Alert Level 3.