Wanted: A balancing act from economists
By Leonardo Micua
WE don’t know if the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease made the right decision in recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte the downgrading of the quarantine classification of NCR+ bubble from ECQ to the less restrictive MECQ.
While the surge may have slowed down a bit in the NCR and its adjacent provinces prior to making its recommendation, that may not be the total picture as projected drop in number of cases was just temporary. True to the prediction of many, the spike of cases still continues up to these days.
Given the fact that the NCR+ bubble is already swarming with COVID-19 patients that could not be accommodated all by existing health care facilities and LGU isolation facilities, many think IATF should have been more extra-cautious in recommending for a downgraded classification in those areas till its data is complete.
As I was writing this piece at home Thursday afternoon, more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases had been added to the national tally, most of which were from the NCR +. This means that the cases are still taking a sharp upward turn and from the looks if it, the number will not ease up in the next few days or even weeks.
But on the other hand, we cannot dispute the report of the Department of Trade and Industry that billions of pesos were lost in the NCR+ when it was placed under the two-week restrictive ECQ alone.
With MECQ in effect, some factories and business are at least back to life as more than 500,000 workers have returned to their jobs and have started earning a living.
This is what economists need to balance while the country is still fighting COVID-19 and with that formula, they can expect the country to triumph in its almost uphill battle against the contagion.
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We were shocked by the reference of columnist Ramon Tulfo to the government when he compared it to a “headless chicken that is running without direction”. He made this remark when he was interviewed in a talk show of national TV.
We suspect these unkind words may have been prompted by Mr. Tulfo’s observation that the men around President Duterte were flipflopping in their responses to the pandemic, in the process pulling down the popular Mr. Duterte.
In that show, Mr. Tulfo rated the government’s response to COVID-19 to just 4, from a scale scale of one to 10. In other words, in the eyes of Mr. Tulfo, the government did not pass the grade.
We know Mon Tulfo too well. He was one of our colleagues in the PNA when the word Philippines in that acronym still had the letter “s”. Everybody in the news room knew he’s a man who calls a spade a spade and black when it is really black. Ask Percy Della, who like us, is now only among the few surviving originals in the old PNA.
A columnist of the Manila Times, Mr. Tulfo is a close ally of the President who named him as a special envoy to China. That is why we know he cannot bad-mouth the government. But he did! Only a Tulfo in the person of Ramon can do that.
But he’s a journalist foremost and the duty of a journalist is to tell the truth.
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