LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Mayor Romeo K. Salda appealed to residents to understand the decision of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases on the varying community quarantine status of local governments and the appurtenant restrictions because there is wisdom behind such policies being handed down by the government.
Salda made the call to the town’s residents following the decision of the inter-agency task force to extend the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status of Benguet up to June 15, 2021.
He claimed that because of the different community quarantine status of Baguio City and Benguet, residents in the municipalities are constrained to go to the city instead of transacting their business in the municipality primarily due to the relaxed restrictions in the establishments around the city, especially in the occupancy of restaurants and other food establishments.
Under MECQ status, food establishments in a locality are allowed to operate but for take-out only unlike when a place is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), like Baguio City, similar establishments are allowed to accommodate up to 50 percent capacity of the venue.
“We are continuously doing our best to strictly implement the prescribed health and safety protocols to help in reducing the surge in Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 cases and we leave the decision on the community quarantine status of the municipality to the national inter-agency task force because it has all the data to guide the members in their future decisions,” Mayor Salda stressed.
According to him, municipal officials understand the sacrifices of people since the implementation of the various community quarantine restrictions for over a year now but there is a need to further extend their patience because of the recent surges in the number of COVID cases in the different parts of the country thus it is still difficult to decide whether or not to relax the ongoing restrictions appurtenant to the community quarantine status of certain areas.
While there is a need to allow the gradual and safe opening of the economy, the mayor pointed out that it is very difficult to balance health and economy, and the government is still trying to look after the overall welfare of the people, especially the members of the vulnerable and deprived sectors, for them to cope with the prevailing difficult situation.
He suggested to the national inter-agency task force that the community quarantine status of local governments that are close to each other should be the same to avoid people from areas that are placed under MECQ to flock to places that have been placed under GCQ, especially when the said areas are strategically located as the same will defeat the purpose of trying to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Salda stipulated that local officials know people are already tired with the implementation of the different community quarantine status but the government cannot afford to have a surge in COVID cases as it will eventually compromise the health care system and stress the frontliners who had been working extra hard to attend to the patients in the different health facilities.