Neda chief to propose Luzon ‘modified lockdown’

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Tuesday said he create and propose a Luzon modified lockdown as the government said it is inclined to extend the lockdown until April 30.

Pernia said in an interview that he would propose the modified lockdown to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (-EID) in their meeting this afternoon.

“I would suggest that it would be some kind of a modified lockdown, maybe Metro Manila also easing some of the restrictions like transportation moving around, the opening of pharmacies and sources of food and other retail shops for basic needs of people,” he said

“In the Luzon area, especially Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and certain other areas in upper north of Luzon, many of them  are agricultural provinces. We need to wrap up our agricultural supply,” Pernia added.

The Neda chief said the movement of people, especially in Metro Manila, is “still pretty tight.”

“We can loosen some of that. We need to go to our offices too because we have been working from home, but we need to go to our offices and be able to look at what’s happening there and interact with our skeletal forces in the offices,” he said.

Also read: Scientist recommends lockdown extension; says PH needs 2-3 months to ‘flatten the curve’

Neda chief to propose Luzon modified lockdown

Pernia suggests easing the process in the food and other goods transportation from Northern Luzon to Metro Manila.

“The transport of goods, for example from Benguet, from Baguio, especially vegetables other agricultural products, fruits, the movement is still restricted because bringing vegetable cargo from the North to Manila. It has to be done by military transportation means I think,” he said.

“That kind of easing in terms of letting the normal way of bringing them to Metro Manila can probably be eased up a bit,” he added. Pernia also added manufacturing for export should also be “revived.”

“Some manufacturing industries need to come back to life in terms of production and other retail businesses that would be useful in this time of limited consumption on the part of the population,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is also conducting online surveys over the weekend to develop new policies and define the “new normal” after the pandemic crisis ends.