Iloilo City Targets May 1 Reopening

Experts from UP Visayas have been tapped for a proper plan.

(SPOT.ph) Iloilo City is preparing to lift quarantine restrictions by May 1—as guided by a proper "exit plan." Experts from the University of the Philippines Visayas have been tapped by the local government to create a study on the possible gradual lifting of the quarantine. An 18-page working draft of the study, entitled "Gradual Easing of Enhanced Community Quarantine Scheme in Iloilo City: Inputs to the Lockdown Exit Plan," is now in the hands of City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

The study proposes feasible steps Iloilo City can take based on what has happened in other areas undergoing similar situations. Online reports and informal discussions with people from the private sector (i.e. those whose businesses may resume once restrictions are lifted) were also taken into account. It was done by Dr. Ma. Elisa Baliao, Dr. Rhodelia Ibabao, Dr. Vicente Balinas, Hanny John Mediodia, Cristabel Parcon and Juhn Chris Espia, according to the Philippine News Agency

"Iloilo City should consider prepping for a phased reopening and scaling back of [local government unit] support for the economy. The phased reopening is a strategy that will protect the people from the virus, allowing life to progressively return to normal, albeit a ‘new normal'," states the study, according to a report by The Daily Guardian

"We have to get suggestions and recommendations of everyone so that we come up with a gradual easing of the [enhaced community quarantine (ECQ)] that is well-studied," Treñas said. Copies of the study's working draft have been sent to different sectors, including individuals such as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado. 

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Ultimately, the May 1 target for lifting will depend on the results of mass testing in Iloilo City. Test kits that were donated to the city should be all used up before the target date, said the mayor in another Philippine News Agency article. Random tests will be conducted on frontliners, police, and media, among others, to provide a full understanding of the city's well-being before businesses open up again.

Meanwhile, the easing of restrictions on liquor proved not too ideal. The ban on selling and drinking alcohol in public was reinstated less than 24 hours after it was lifted by Treñas after reports of drunks heckling city police popped up. Which means there's a lot to be taken into consideration—fingers crossed the "Wakanda of the Philippines" stays true to the nickname!

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