Galvez: No more trade-offs in COVID plan implementation

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    THE National Task Force against COVID-19 would not agree to any trade-off or compromise in the implementation of the third phase national action plan (NAP) against the coronavirus disease, according chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.

    “In NAP Phase 3, we have to ensure the public’s health while reviving our nation’s economy. There will be no more trade-offs… We need to continue to recalibrate our efforts according to the needs of local government units, the private sector and the general public.

    So, we have to find ways to be creative so that our policies are not stringent,” Galvez said Friday during a review and crafting of policies under the third phase of the NAP, held in Baguio City.

    He acknowledged that “some compromises” had been made by the government during the early stages of the NAP’s implementation as government tried to address every challenge during the implementation of the first two phases.

    Under NAP Phase 1, which was implemented from March to June 2020, the government carried out community quarantine measures and focused on the prevention and containment of the virus, while mitigating its effects on the economy.

    NAP Phase 2, which was implemented from July to October, focused on strengthening the country’s healthcare system and the government’s prevent-detect-isolate-treat-reintegrate strategy while creating a balance between protecting the health of the people and reviving the economy.

    The NAP Phase 3, which will continue implementing good policies, will be implemented from the last quarter this year to the first quarter of 2021.

    “For the third phase of the plan, we must continue to sustain the gains we have achieved in the previous phases. To do this, however, we must be able to identify gaps in the NAP’s implementation and find ways to address them. We cannot be complacent at this crucial time. Although there are very good signs that we are flattening the curve… we cannot afford to let our guard down,” Galvez said.

    NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said there is still a need to ramp up prevention and mitigation measures against COVID-19 as the government continues to open the economy.

    “Mahaba pa iyung laban pero kayang-kaya po natin. Iyun lang medyo mag wrap up tayo at bilis-bilsan lang po natin ng konti (We still have a long way to go but we can handle this.

    We just need to wrap up and speed up the implementation),” he said.

    Dizon said aside from sustaining policies, the country must adapt to new technologies especially in testing, like the use of the antigen, saliva and breath testing to boost its COVID-19 response efforts.

    Galvez said the country must not be limited to its current bed capacity and healthcare facilities and instead continue to improve on the current healthcare system as well as prepare for a “universalization of the country’s healthcare system.”

    The Department of Public Works and Highways has completed 289 quarantine facilities and off-site dormitories, with a total bed capacity of 9,080 and targets to build 689 facilities with a total bed capacity of 24,179 in the coming months.

    As of October 4, the Philippines had 322,497 COVID-19 cases, including 273,079 recoveries and 5,776 deaths.