CONCEPCION: BUSINESS GROUPS, CONGLOMERATES IN FAVOR OF A 2-WEEK LUZON LOCKDOWN EXTENSION
Photo: in a file photo from Gonegosyo, Presidential Assistant on EntrepreneurshipJoey Cocnepcion on the right

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion says that based on (informal) survey, more than 90% of entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives of large and medium conglomerates support the extension of a Luzon lockdown for another two weeks.

Concepcion states that the 2-week extension of the lockdown can be used to prepare for the implementation of Barangay Quarantines. This will provide us ample time to develop and establish a more sustainable mitigation system, which will follow the guidelines provided by the IATF. The Barangay quarantine approach, if successful, can be used continuously until a cure is found.

The majority want to avoid a possible relapse and ensure a definitive flattening of the curve. Among all the recommendations presented, the extension of the Luzon lockdown was deemed the most important in the consultative meeting between the private sector and NEDA last April 5, 2020 which was attended by NEDA Sec. Ernesto Pernia, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, and heads of conglomerates and business chambers.

“We have been on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for almost 3 weeks. Despite the negative economic impact, it seems that we are left with no choice but to ensure that this current lockdown be worthwhile and successful. Thus, we strongly support the government in its plans of extending the Luzon lockdown for another 2 weeks to avoid relapse, which may result in more damages,” says Concepcion.

Moving forward after the 2-week lockdown extension, another recommendation is to change strategy and implement an immediate shift to Barangay-level Quarantines.

Concepcion recommends that the mayor and barangay captains be empowered to implement a lockdown in their affected areas, while following simple and easy-to-follow guidelines setup by the National Task Force (NTF). The NTF will provide the criteria of when a targeted area should be put under lockdown and for how long.

Depending on the number and location of the confirmed cases per area, the Barangay Quarantine can be expanded to become a City/Municipality Quarantine, and even a Provincial Quarantine, should a wider scale lockdown be necessary.

“President Duterte was correct to place Luzon under lockdown immediately, because that was an emergency situation. After implementing 3 ‘resets’ (3 cycles of a 14-day quarantine at home), we now should consider implementing quarantines at the barangay level, moving up to City/ Municipality Quarantines and Provincial Quarantines, if many of the municipalities still experience rising number of cases,” Concepcion states.

With the lockdown extension and Barangay Quarantine in effect, the military and police can focus on the infected areas, and both the public and private sectors can proceed with the random testing of barangay residents to measure the level of risk within the community. The data gathered will help in developing more effective and comprehensive mitigation plans.