Will the government lift the Luzon lockdown on April 13 as promised? Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is still rising with the tally now at 2,311 cases with 96 dead. Meanwhile, police rounded up a group of people in Quezon City who were protesting the alleged lack of aid from the local government. They said they are going hungry due to the lockdown. The government is still processing the cash aid for some 18 million low income families to help them deal with the pandemic. The Department of Labor and Employment said it got P2 billion to fund its cash aid programs for workers affected by the lockdown.
Far from over
Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said the country’s fight against the coronavirus is “far from over.” This could be an indication of the government’s thinking on whether it would extend, modify or lift the Luzon lockdown by April 13. Nograles, spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) which is trying to manage the spread of the virus, said the group has not decided on its recommendation to President Duterte. Retired Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the national action plan against COVID-19, said the next two weeks would be critical. Also, the government said they just might enforce a “massive forced quarantine” for suspected COVID-19 cases.
Letter from the NBI
COVID-19 positive Sen. Koko Pimentel, a public official whose salary is paid by public funds, is calling for respect for his right of privacy after it was reported he was brought to a hospital. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) summoned Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto through a letter to explain his remarks on allowing e-trikes to ferry medical frontliners. The agency said this violates the government’s order for social distancing and the law giving emergency powers to the president.
Speaking of the lockdown, Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez said he favors a gradual lifting of the lockdown to start the gears of businesses turning. He also said supermarkets should extend their business hours to avoid crowding. National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the government as sufficient funds to counter COVID-19. Also, the Philippine Port Authority General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago called on the Department of Finance to hasten its review on measures to decongest ports which have been clogging up due to the lockdown.
Arts and crafts
One good thing that can come out of this COVID-19 outbreak is giving time for people to unleash their craftiness and resourcefulness. ANCX hones in on one particular useful new skill: improvising a face mask.