Press Releases

Salceda wants alert-level system for COVID-19 scrapped amid worries that NCR could be placed under new restrictions; Alert level 2 could cause hunger for 640k NCR families

June 14th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) objects to any further restrictions in economic activities after the Department of Health announced on Monday that the National Capital Region could once again be imposed tighter restrictions under Alert Level 2 if cases continue to increase.

“At this point, the alert level system, which is primarily based on number of COVID-19 cases, no longer makes sense from a healthcare point of view. Cases will always be there, so we have to measure our ability to live with the cases.”

“Executive Order No. 166 s. 2022 already prescribes that we use more useful and empowering metrics for decisionmaking on COVID-19. It explicitly instructs that we use both total and severe cases, case fatality, and vaccination rates for decisions on restrictions. So, I don’t understand this talk that a rise in cases might necessitate higher alert level,” Salceda added.

“That EO is already the law. So, we should be changing paradigms. In Albay, in my district, I have already instructed the regional hospital and the COVID management committee to prepare our most vulnerable population and healthcare workers with boosters.”

“I also remind the IATF that every week in lockdown in NCR costs workers around P1.6 billion in salaries. If they have no plan for how to replace the nutrition, non-COVID health, and welfare losses from that, then we should be more circumspect about declaring alert levels,” Salceda said.

Earlier, Salceda has also warned of a possible nutrition crisis due to higher prices of food.

“An alert level increase will worsen the food situation for around 640,000 households in NCR, and could bring them below the hunger line. Again, I hope the IATF considers that,” Salceda added.

“We had around 74,000 deaths that were COVID-19 related in 2021. But total deaths, year-on-year, grew by 154,562. So, actually, you had more people dying of non-COVID causes, than COVID itself, perhaps due to the economic effects.”

“An early lockdown would have worked. But lockdowns at this late stage of the pandemic, especially now that people have learned to live with it, would be counterproductive both health-wise and economy-wise.”

“Let’s keep minimum health standards and empower people to take care of their health. Vaccines, better nutrition, and the certainty that there will be hospital beds when they need them – these things give our people more agency than lockdowns or higher alert levels. Give them that, and allow them to earn a living, and they will be able to make decisions about their health.”

“An alert level will have very marginal, if any, COVID-mitigating effects. But it will cost working families, especially in the informal and self-employed sectors, gravely.”

Other Press Releases
The AO will make food cheaper. Right now, it’s very difficult as an honest exporter to sell food to the Philippines.
Read More
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More