Press Release
March 14, 2021

Pangilinan bats for granular local lockdowns to empower LGUs vs new Covid spike

AS the country commemorates the first year of the first Covid-caused community quarantine on March 15, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said local executives must be empowered to enforce granular local lockdowns as they are more familiar with the situation in their respective areas.

"Sa halip na national modified quarantine, dapat gawing granular. Bigyan ng kapangyarihan ang mga lokal talaga na gawing granular yung lockdowns," Pangilinan said in radio interview.

"Sila kasi ang nakakaalam kung dumadami o hindi ang mga nagkakasakit, sila mismo ang nandiyan sa mga barangay at sitio. Sila rin ang merong karanasan sa maayos na pagkontrol ng virus," he added.

The first community quarantine covered the National Capital Region and the town of Cainta in Rizal from March 15 to April 14, 2020. As of March 15, 2020, the daily number of confirmed cases was 29, for a total of 140 cases.

Pangilinan supports the opening of the economy to allow Filipinos to earn their livelihood, but stressed that the government must intensify its mass testing and contact tracing initiatives to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Importante yung contact tracing at yung mass testing para sige tuloy na buksan natin yung ekonomiya. Pero [dapat] tuloy-tuloy yung mass testing [at] ang contact tracing para alam natin kung nasaan ang kaaway," he said.

Pangilinan was among the first to call for a travel ban of visitors from Wuhan, China, where the first case of the virus was reported. He, together with Minority Senators Frank Drilon and Risa Hontiveros, first called for a special session on a supplemental budget to control and manage Covid; this subsequently resulted in Bayanihan 1 and 2.

Citing discussions among fellow senators, he said there were reports that the country's mass testing dropped from the ideal 30,000 per day to just 20,000, setting back the fight against Covid-19.

"Kaya hindi natin makita yung kaaway -- yung virus kasi kung saan-saan -- kung kulang ang testing...Eh talagang hindi natin malalaman [kung] sino ang may sakit at sino ang hindi at hindi na-isolate kaagad," he stressed.

Pangilinan, who in December called for Senate hearings on the government vaccine rollout, said these measures should be consistently implemented while waiting for the general population to be vaccinated.

As of March 13, an additional 5,000 tested positive of the virus, making for a total of 616,611 cases since Covid was first detected in the country in January 2020.

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