Response of Sen. Francis Pangilinan to media queries on ECQ extension for specific areas:

April 24, 2020

“We support the extension of the ECQ, as recommended by experts with the understanding that ECQ alone without fast-tracking the following action steps will render any ECQ extension ineffective:

1. More tests will be conducted.

Does government have a national or local testing capacity target, expressed in the number of tests per population? How close are we to this target if any? We note that this information is critical for officials at the national and local levels of government as they decide whether or not to extend or lift community quarantines by May 16.

2. Massive contact tracing will be conducted.

3. Number of health care workers, facilities, medical equipment, and isolation facilities are sufficient to address the expected surge in Covid-19 related cases.

4. Health workers and other front-liners are well-protected (provision of PPEs and other resources and equipment).

5. DOST and local scientists are given sufficient funding and support for Covid-19 vaccine and other related research.

6. Emergency cash subsidies and other government assistance will reach majority if not all of the intended beneficiaries given the effects of the extension of ECQ on poor families’ livelihood and access to food and other essential goods.

7. Food supply is sufficient while our farmers are well-supported and given assistance.

8. Government actual cash position (sources of financing, expenditures) is reported to assure that we will be able to fund our fight against the pandemic and to guide Congress on the necessary steps to be taken to address this.

How much is the budget ceiling allowed under the GAA and the Bayanihan Law? How much have we spent? Is there a need for a supplemental stimulus bill?

We look to the examples of Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea, which did not impose a lockdown, but seem to successfully contain the spread of the disease and limit the Covid-related deaths. All of them, including China, did not completely stop the operation of their public transport systems because they know that it is vital to their people’s survival.”