Economy re-opening, public transportation top agenda for Cabinet meeting next Monday

The further reopening of the economy as well as public transportation concerns will be high on the agenda of President Duterte’s next meeting with the Cabinet next Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on October 5, 2020. ALBERTO ALCAIN/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“So, Monday we will have a Cabinet meeting and there will be some far wide — far and wide decisions to make. I am not sure that it will succeed but at least it will be discussed for you,” the President said in his televised address Monday night.

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the President and the Cabinet are expected to discuss next week the government options on how to further stimulate economic activity amid concerns about rising hunger and child malnutrition.

He said acting Socioeconomic planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua gave a lengthy presentation on the impact of the pandemic on the people during their meeting Monday night.

“Tumaas po talaga ang pagkagutom, tumaas po iyong malnourishment ng ating mga kabataan at ito po ang dahilan niya kung bakit hinikayat nga po niya ang buong gobyerno na buksan pa lalo ang ating ekonomiya at importante na bigyan ng katugunan iyong kawalan ng transportasyon (Hunger incidence and malnourishment of the young are the reason why he urged the entire government to further open the economy. It is also important to address the lack of transportation),” Roque said.

“Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit nagpatawag po ang Presidente ng full Cabinet meeting sa susunod na Lunes po, alas-kuwatro ng hapon para i-discuss pa po itong mga option para lalo pang buksan ang ekonomiya at bigyan ng kasagutan iyong kawalan ng transportasyon (This is the reason why the President called for a full Cabinet meeting next Monday at 4 p.m. to discuss the options to further open up the economy and address transportation concerns),” he added.

Roque said they would also “revisit” the one-meter distancing rule in public transportation during the next Cabinet meeting.

Last month, the President decided to keep the policy of one-meter distance between passengers riding public transportation to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

The government initially agreed to implement a reduced physical distance policy of 0.75 meter supposedly to allow more passengers to use buses, trains and other public transportation. The move however drew flak from some health experts over concerns about a possible surge in COVID transmission.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey recently showed more than 7 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months. In the survey conducted from Sept.17 to 20, the families who experienced hunger due to lack of food reached a record high of 30.7 percent, or an estimated 7.6 million households. The figure is higher than 20.9 percent recorded in July.

Roque admitted that the Palace is saddened by the latest rise in hunger incidence among families. He assured the nation though that this would just be “temporary” due to the coronavirus lockdown.





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