“We call on our fellow officials in the government and also in the private sector, maybe it’s time to consider a work-from-home scheme as long as it won’t sacrifice the services we provide the public,” Robredo said in a video posted on YouTube.
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Robredo backs quarantine extension, quicker release of aid
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - April 5, 2020 - 2:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday that she supports the idea of extending the enhanced community quarantine hoisted over Luzon for a few days. 

Robredo said that if such an extension were to be implemented, the national government would have to practice transparency in order for the public to understand the extension. 

"I agree with it because according to the projections we've seen, it can help to flatten the curve if we stay in quarantine longer. But it's crucial to make sure people cooperate that they understand why it's necessary," she said in Filipino in an interview with ANC. 

"If they don't understand why they need to do it, the resistance is guaranteed to be there. Information and fulfilling their needs is of utmost importance."

In her weekly radio show, she also said that prolonging the quarantine would help "flatten the curve", or lower the rate of infection to keep from overwhelming hospitals.

"I hope that if it is extended, this will come with the release of aid, especially for the poor. Aid meant for the poor should be released sooner because the longer the quarantine is in place, the more restless people might get."

She said that government should make sure that families get food and that those working in essential industries have their needs—for reliable transportation, for accommodations, and for personal protective equipment—addressed as well.

 

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also spokesperson for the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 measures, in an online media briefing on Saturday, the following parameters had been adopted by the task force in deciding on the potential lifting or extending of the quarantine: 

  1. Trends in the virus’ epidemiological curve including doubling time, acceleration or deceleration of new cases
  2. Capacity of the health system, including the number and availability of quarantine, isolation and treatment facilities, the capability to mount contact tracing, the availability of PPEs for frontliners, and the testing capacity of the country
  3. Social factors 
  4. Economic factors
  5. Security factors

'Protect the vulnerable'

Mainland Luzon is entering its fourth week under enhanced community quarantine since it was first declared by President Duterte on March 17, severely restricting movement and leaving the vulnerable grappling with uncertainty, a reality that the vice president acknowledged. 

Throughout her video addresses in the past month, Robredo's calls echoed the same message: to protect the vulnerable.

READ: Robredo urges remote work, steady supply of food and goods amid COVID-19 threat 

As COVID-19 continued its onslaught in and around Luzon, the Office of the Vice President rolled out a number of its own initiatives as well, including a drive that has raised P46.2 million for supplies for health workers on the frontlines, shuttles to provide the same healthcare frontliners transportation to and from work, and four dormitories where frontliners were able to stay in for free.

Robredo asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development to practice the same transparency in implementing its social amelioration program for families affected by the pandemic. 

"Make sure a lot of safety nets are in place so we can avoid fears of corruption. For me, transparency and accountability measures should be enhanced, but these should also be entrusted to local government units, because what's vital here is that our countrymen who are in need are able to eat every day," she said. 

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday accused the Vice President of competing with government initiatives to combat the virus, although one of the PACC's commissioners later retracted this claim. PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna, the one who initially made the accusation, was later fired by President Duterte.  

In her interview on Sunday, Robredo said this was to "fill in a gap." 

If you believe you have come into possible contact with infected patients, you may be directed to the proper office of the Department of Health for advice through the following lines: (632) 8651-7800 local 1149/1150 or (632) 165-364.

You may also opt to call the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at (02) 8807-2631/ 8807-2632/ 8807-2637.

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