Prolonged MECQ lengthens hardships of the poor sectors – fishers’ group

Manila, Philippines – “The extension of MECQ anew is not only a manifestation of the government’s continuous failure on pandemic response, it is also a conscious and sinister move of the Duterte administration to prolong the hardships of the vulnerable sectors including the fisherfolks. Livelihood and other economic activities are unproductively hampered due to travel and border restrictions, while government stimulus aid remains in far sight,” according to the progressive fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), opposing the extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine in the so-called NCR plus for two weeks.

PAMALAKAYA said border restrictions impede the movement of marine and fishery products from one province to another, primarily affecting small fishers who are unable to travel their produce to major fish ports and markets in central towns.

“The Duterte administration’s pandemic response is bungling and inadequate that the key measures to contain the virus have yet to be systematically carried out. There is still no free massive testing and vaccination, and public health care system remains bankrupt. The overwhelming increase of COVID-19 cases in NCR and neighboring provinces has been dealt with the usual military solution which is tested and proved to be a grand failure,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

The fishers’ group said that restrictive quarantine, social protection, and scientific and medical solutions are “inseparable measures” to effectively contain the pandemic while catering the needs of the affected sectors.

“Restrictive quarantine should be accompanied with subsidy rollout and medical solutions. Without social, scientific and medical measures, this another MECQ under the very same circle of implementers with consistent routines is doomed to fail all over again,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon ended. ###

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