Robredo backs proposed extension of Luzon lockdown

Mara Cepeda
Robredo backs proposed extension of Luzon lockdown

Gerard Carreon

But Vice President Leni Robredo says it is 'crucial' for the government to properly provide the basic needs of Filipinos during the lockdown in order to avoid social unrest

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo supports the proposed extension of the “enhanced community quarantine” or lockdown of Luzon by another 15 to 20 days to help contain the spread of COVID-19. 

Speaking to ANC on Sunday, April 5, the Vice President said that the proposed lockdown extension would help “flatten the curve,” the term experts use to describe the slowing down of the rate of COVID-19 infection. 

But Robredo said that the government would have to make sure that Filipinos understand the need for an extended lockdown. Most importantly, it should be able to provide the needs of poor families who would be severely affected by a longer lockdown period. 

“Sang-ayon ako dahil ‘yong nakikita natin na mga projections, makakabuti para i-flatten ‘yong curve kung hahabaan pa ito,” the Vice President said. 

(I agree with this because based on the projections we’ve seen, it would help flatten the curve if the lockdown period is extended.)

“Pero tingin ko kasi crucial, crucial para mag-cooperate ‘yong mga tao, crucial na naiintindihan nila kung bakit kailangan ‘tong gawin. Kasi kapag hindi nila naiintidihan kung bakit kailangan ‘tong gawin, ‘yong resistance nandiyan,” she said.  

(But I think it would be crucial for the people to cooperate, crucial for them to understand why there’s a need to do this. Because if they don’t, there would be resistance.)

The Vice President explained that the lack of clear information and concrete aid from the government would likely lead to unrest among Filipinos who are growing hungry, like the 21 disgruntled residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City who were arrested for staging a protest without a permit. 

“Tingin ko maiibsan ito kapag naiintindihan nila kung number one, kung bakit kailangan natin ‘tong gawin. Number two, na ‘yong kanilang basic na mga pangangailangan naasikaso,” Robredo said. (READ: ‘Walang-wala na’: Poor Filipinos fear death from hunger more than coronavirus)

(I think this would be lessened if the people would understand number one, why this has to be done. Number two, their basic needs should be provided.)

In the same interview, the Vice President said that her office’s free shuttle service for frontliners fighting the COVID-19 pandemic would remain operational only until April 14, the last day of the lockdown President Rodrigo Duterte placed over Metro Manila. The lockdown over the entire Luzon island is set to expire on April 12.

Robredo said that her office has already reported this to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, who in turn thanked them for launching the initiative even before the agency was able to organize its own routes to benefit frontliners in need of transportation. 

The Vice President expressed hope that the DOTr would consider applying the lessons her office learned in their free shuttle service, including the reliability of buses arriving at their designated stops on time.  

As of Saturday, April 4, there are a total of 3,094 cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, 144 of whom have died while 57 have already recovered. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.