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NEDA calls for seamless coordination, comprehensive plan to mitigate COVID-19 impact

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | March 25,2020 - 12:54 PM
Secretary Ernesto Pernia

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. | NEDA photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Coordination and comprehensive planning is the right way to address the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“This public health emergency brought about by COVID-19 shows us how crucial it is for us to have a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in addressing this challenge,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in an e-mailed press statement.

Pernia suggested a delicate balance between health and economic objects in coming up with response measures since the outbreak’s impact ‘varies by economic class. 

“Otherwise, the situation could deteriorate to a social and political crisis,” he added.

NEDA had proposed a three-phased program to mitigate the social and economic impact of the pandemic. 

Phase 1 includes clinical/medical response; public health response; and short-term augmentation of health systems capacity.

Currently, the Philippines is on phase 1, which calls for early detection and diagnosis, effective quarantine system, effective management and treatment protocol, research, and epidemiological studies. 

“The key to a successful medical response is widespread testing. Early detection and diagnosis will lead to early initiation of quarantine procedures, which will therefore limit or prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease,” said Pernia.

He noted that it would be crucial to have adequate number of testing kits, medical supplies, facilities, and equipment and health care personnel across the country. “This may require the use of makeshift facilities or converted structures, in the immediate term,” he added.

Pernia reiterated the need for public cooperation as measures such as travel ban, distancing ban on gatherings and flexible work arrangements in non-essential sectors, among others aim to contain the spread of the disease.

Pernia also cited the need for the establishment of makeshift outpatient consultation facilities with specimen harvesting capability, including the increase of supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and remote quarantine facilities (RQF)

The second phase would focus on rebuilding consumer and business confidence while phase 3 would be the resumption of’ a new normal state of economic activity that is more prepared for another possible pandemic.’

The redefining the new normal state of economic activity under Phase 3 includes recalibrating development plans and work programs to conform to the new normal, according to NEDA.

For its part, NEDA will begin its preparations for Phase 3 by conducting various scenario and foresight planning exercises involving multiple stakeholders, including experts and development partners.

“At this point, there is a need to engage the whole-of-government in crafting the policies and programs under the new normal scenario. The more important phase is communicating these to the public and building a constituency for these new policies and programs,” Pernia said. /bmjo

 

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