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Bong Go warns against complacency as key areas revert to MECQ; calls for continued vigilance, cooperation, and support for vaccine program

PASAY CITY -- Senator Christopher "Bong" Go warned the Filipino public against complacency as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) downgrades Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan's community quarantine classification to the less restrictive Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine starting on August 21 for NCR and Laguna, and August 23 for Bataan, until August 31.

"Ang bahagyang pagluluwag… ay hindi nangangahulugan na magsilabasan na naman tayo kahit hindi kailangan at isawalang bahala na naman ang iba pang mga itinakdang health protocols, katulad ng pagsuot ng mask at face shield, pagsunod sa social distancing, at palaging paghugas ng mga kamay," said Go.

Harry Roque, presidential spokesperson, said that the new classifications have no bearing on the tight enforcement of granular lockdowns when necessary.

Indoor, al fresco dine-in services are still not allowed under MECQ, according to Roque. In the NCR, Laguna, and Bataan, personal care services, such as salons, parlors, barbershops, and spas are still prohibited to operate as well. Religious gatherings should also be limited to online activities.

Go emphasized that the move to reclassify these areas aims to balance the country's economic and health interests.

“Maingat lang na binabalanse ng gobyerno ang kabuhayan at kaligtasan ng lahat. Pero sa bawat desisyon at aksyon natin, palaging buhay ng bawat Pilipino ang inuuna natin,” Go said.

Go also explained that the adjustments in restrictions would allow more industries to open and operate in a limited capacity.

“Nagbigay po tayo ng ayuda noong ECQ dahil maraming mga industriya ang kinailangang magsara pansamantala. Ngayong MECQ na sa mga lugar na aking binanggit, marami na ring mga sektor ang pinayagang magbukas sa limitadong kapasidad,” Go said.

“Kasama rito ang mga media establishments, clinics, banks, money transfer services, pawnshops, water and janitorial services, waste disposal facilities, energy sector, telecommunications, airline and aircraft maintenance, recruitment agencies, manufacturing companies at marami pang iba,” he explained.

“Ibig sabihin, marami na pong mga Pilipino ang pwede nang makapagtrabaho muli upang may maiuwi sa kanilang pamilya at maiwasan ang gutom at kahirapan,” he added.

The Senator, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, then urged Filipinos to continue complying with health protocols to protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

“Gayunpaman, kailangan pa ring mag-ingat at istriktong maimplementa ang health protocols sa mga pampublikong lugar at sa mga pinagtatrabahuhan ninyo,” he said.

“Alam ko na malayo pa tayo sa muling pagbalik ng sigla ng ating ekonomiya. Pero kailangan nating magtulungan upang hindi mas lumala ang problema. Kung baga sa sunog, kailangan nating patayin agad ito bago maging out of control dahil ayaw nating mag-back to zero,” he added.

Despite the adjustments, Go called for continued vigilance, cooperation, and support for the national vaccination program.

“Huwag muna tayo maging kumpiyansa dahil nandyan pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19. Konting tiis lang po dahil katumbas ng inyong disiplina, kooperasyon, at pagsunod sa patakaran ay ang mga buhay po na maaari nating maproteksyunan kung makikiisa tayo sa mga hakbang na ito upang tuluyang maitigil ang pagkalat ng sakit,” he said.

He also warned the public against the threat of the emerging COVID-19 variants which are more contagious and therefore dangerous.

"Mayroong mga bagong variant, tulad ng Delta variant, four times more contagious ito at mas nakakahawa," he warned.

"Ilang beses na tayong pabalik-balik sa ECQ at pagluluwag, tapos babalik na naman tayo sa ECQ. Ito ay nangangahulugan na pabago-bago ang galaw ng ating kalaban. Subalit hindi dapat tayo magbabago sa ating tungkulin bilang responsableng mamamayan at sa ating pagtitiwala at malasakit sa kapwa," he added.

Meanwhile, Go urged Filipinos who are now eligible to get their vaccines under the priority list to get inoculated as soon as possible to boost the country's bid for population protection and herd immunity.

“Higit sa lahat, hikayatin natin ang bawat isa na parte ng priority groups na magpabakuna na po dahil ang bakuna ang susi tungo sa pagbalik natin sa normal na pamumuhay,” he said.

“Kapag marami nang bakunado at bumaba na ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa ating komunidad, maaari na pong mas luwagan pa ang mga restrictions at mas makapagbubukas na muli ang ibang mga industriya. Dadami na ulit ang trabaho at lalago na muli ang kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Iyan po ang gusto nating marating ngayong taon,” he added.

Go called for national unity and continuing discipline in the face of the pandemic, saying that cooperation will help the country overcome COVID-19.

“Mga kababayan ko, bilang inyong chair sa Committee on Health sa Senado, nakikiusap ako na suportahan natin ang mga hakbang ng gobyerno para masigurong ligtas tayo at ang ating mahal sa buhay,” he appealed.

“Kapit lang po dahil ginagawa natin ang lahat upang maiahon ang bansa mula sa krisis na ito. Kailangan po ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa para masigurong walang maiiiwan sa laban na ito tungo sa muling pagbangon natin bilang nagkakaisa at mas matatag na sambayanang Pilipino!,” he ended. (OSBG)

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Kate Shiene Agna

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Central Office

Information Officer II under the Office of the Deputy Director-General-Digital Development Communications Unit of Philippine Information Agency. 

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