MANILA– Senator Imee Marcos has called on the government to prepare for a possible spike in Covid-19 cases after Christmas, even as community quarantines remain in place and a karaoke ban and the use of ‘yantok’ are being considered to enforce health protocols.
Marcos said the public’s “quarantine fatigue” amid muted festivity this Christmas could swell infection rates that remained “significantly high” at the end of November, particularly in Metro Manila, Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, and Lanao del Sur.
“Let’s already settle what contact-tracing system should be put in place, contingency measures in hospitals if critical levels are reached, coping mechanisms that can be devolved to local government units,” Marcos said.
“We are likely to remain in a public health emergency until next year, yet Bayanihan 2 is already due to expire when Congress adjourns next week,” Marcos pointed out.
Marcos reiterated her call in Senate Bill 1921 to extend it until December 31, 2021 the President’s stand-by powers under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act to deal with the pandemic.
“Now that the bicam has agreed on a most difficult national budget, we now need to extend Bayanihan 2,” Marcos asserted.
Marcos said that the Php10 billion allotted for vaccine procurement in Bayanihan 2 will augment the limited Php2.5-billion outlay programmed in the 2021 national budget.
“The bulk of the Php72.5 billion in next year’s budget for vaccine procurement, storage, and delivery are unprogrammed funds that may or may not come, depending on what excess revenue the government can generate,” Marcos explained.
Marcos added that a spike in the country’s infection rate come the New Year may again lead to stricter quarantine restrictions, slow down business, and make revenue generation a real challenge. (AI/FC/MTVN)