10 August 2020
Lorenzana slammed on NCR's 'readiness' for return to GCQ
Militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) rebuked National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chairman Delfin Lorenzana's assertion that Metro Manila is ready to revert to GCQ status once the modified enhanced community quarantine lapses on August 18.
Lorenzana cited yesterday's decline in reported cases to around 3,000 from the 6,263 peak last August 4. He also justified Metro Manila's readiness for GCQ by stating that the economy can no longer suffer.
BMP Chairperson Ka Leody De Guzman queried: "How can Mr. Lorenzana say that we are 'ready' just because of a single-day drop in reported cases? Even to the casual eye the recent Covid-19 data shows that there is no such evidence to say that we are 'ready.' A mere single-day drop in reported new cases (from 4,131 on August 8 to 3,028 yesterday) is not at all encouraging considering that the highest single-day record of new cases (6,263 last August 4) occurred after a much steeper drop (4,953 last August 2 to 3,145 on August 3). Mr. Lorenzana also omitted that the number of daily reported deaths increased from 41 to 61 deaths yesterday."
"Once again, another former general presuming himself to be a medical expert is endangering Filipinos further with his pompous statements. Simply put, the fluctuating numbers cannot prove that we are in the clear. Furthermore, the Duterte Regime's continuing lack of a comprehensive and coherent plan to combat the pandemic, led by real medical experts and professionals, shows that it is the government that is still unprepared for countering the greatest health and economic crisis our country has ever experienced!" the veteran labor activist contended.
The BMP further argued that Lorenzana's premature judgments reveal his, and by extension, the Duterte Regime's real preoccupation of restarting the economy as opposed to prioritizing the capacitation of our health system against the Covid-19 pandemic.
De Guzman further expounded "who is Lorenzana consulting in making these inane remarks? Capitalists and oligarchs losing profits due to quarantine restrictions, or medical experts and professionals? In their appeals to reopen and prioritize the economy, the Duterte Regime has been consistent with imposing this false dichotomy on the FIlipino working masses: either die by hunger or by Covid-19."
"This false choice they have been peddling is malicious and further demonstrates the gross incompetence of President Duterte and his lackeys - like Lorenzana - in handling this crisis. They continue to ignore the growing number of health experts, economists, trade unions, and civil society organizations asserting that prioritizing the country's health system is a necessary condition for economic recovery. The negative effects caused by quarantine restrictions can be countervailed by utilizing public funds (including the trillions procured from debt) for capacitating the health system and social amelioration for the working poor and unemployed," the labor leader concluded.
The BMP previously asserted in a statement that community quarantine could only work when the following measures are taken:
1. Mandating of paid quarantine leaves to workers for the entire duration of the ECQ;
2. Sufficient and unconditional social amelioration programs for all those affected by the ECQ;
3. Free mass testing, efficient contact tracing, and more isolation centers;
4. Rechanneling of public funds into capacitating health system;
5. Active hiring and regularization of public health workers;
6. Tapping trade unions and community organizations in implementing community quarantine.##
For reference, please contact: Leody De Guzman