Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.
SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged authorities to consider further easing quarantine restrictions so that more businesses could reopen.
Gatchalian made the appeal following the government’s decision to pilot-test the resumption of in-person classes in low-risk and Covid 19-free areas.
He asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to consider relaxing restrictions since working parents will be more productive to focus on work with the reopening of classes.
“Maraming mga magulang ang natengga sa bahay dahil ‘yung iba ay nawalan ng trabaho (A lot of parents got stuck at home because they lost their jobs [due to the pandemic]),” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Others opted to stay at home to guide their children in distance learning, said the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
“With the reopening of schools, parents can go back to work and the economy will bounce back with the expected resumption of transportation, education, and business sectors as well as the service sector,” he said.
Gatchalian cited the study of the Asian Development Bank which showed that in terms of foregone wages of parents who need to stop working to care for their children, the economic cost would amount to P225 billion, covering 11 percent of the affected workforce during the school year 2020 to 2021.
“Parents are also employees,” he said. “Experience has shown that most working parents are unable to work as they need to stay home with their quarantined children, especially with granular lockdowns being enforced in Metro Manila.”
He said that another study by the National Economic and Development Authority showed that “the long-run total cost of Covid-19 and quarantines on the present and future generations” was estimated at P41.4 trillion.
Gatchalian also called on the IATF to speed up the vaccination of informal sector workers and self-employed individuals so they can return to work or seek employment opportunities.
Data from the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard showed that as of September 24, more than 2.718 million indigent individuals or those under the A5 category for inoculation have been given jabs.
About 8.9 million frontliners in the essential sectors or those under the A4 category have received their first jab while over 5.307 million have had their second jab and single dose vaccines.
The A4 group covers private sector workers and government employees who need to be physically present in their workplace, as well those so-called informal sector workers and self-employed individuals who work outside their homes and those working in private households.