Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Benhur Abalos is seeking to set up a system that will allow cost-sharing arrangements among local government units (LGUs) to help them in enforcing granular lockdowns.
After the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ended on August 20 in Metro Manila, the region will be identifying COVID-19 hotspots, where granular lockdowns will be intensified.
“It’s more of a microscopic approach to each and every city, but of course, if you’re going to do that, the burden, especially of the resources, of feeding the residents of those affected, will be on the LGUs,” Abalos said during a Rappler Talk Newsmaker interview on Tuesday, August 24.
Under granular lockdowns, which are imposed on smaller areas like households, buildings, streets, subdivisions, and barangays, the LGU will need to provide food for the residents for at least two weeks, as they will not be allowed to leave their homes.
He cited Quezon City as an example, which he said had had 76 granular lockdowns. “It’s okay right now, we could still maintain that. But what if this pandemic will go on for another one month or probably more? At that point in time, we will be needing the help of the national government,” he said.
Abalos said he had brought up the cost-sharing concept with socioeconomic planning secretary Karl Chua.
“We’re not asking for money, we’re just asking for a system,” Abalos said.
“As early as now, there must be a system in place that if a certain LGU has breached a certain level of expenses and it needs help, and probably some of the factors will be the active cases in their areas and probably the prolonged lockdowns, could there be cost-sharing? If we could have this formula in mind, in a system, at least it would not be that difficult for every LGU,” he added.
He said one possible way would be for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to have a fixed formula for providing their share of food packages.
On August 23, the Department of Health confirmed that community transmission of the Delta variant was now occurring in Metro Manila and Calabarzon, the two most populous regions in the country.
Meanwhile, 43% of the eligible population in Metro Manila have been fully vaccinated, as of August 22. – Rappler.com