(File photo)

MANILA – The government has no plan yet to impose stricter quarantine measures nationwide despite the threat of the more contagious Delta coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

This, after the OCTA Research Group recommended the implementation of “anticipatory, preventive, and circuit-breaking lockdowns” to prevent the further spread of Delta variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is prioritizing the country’s “total health” to make sure that Filipinos are recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Wala pa pong recommendation for hard lockdown dahil ang importante po, total health. Binabalanse po talaga natin iyan (There is no recommendation for hard lockdown because what is important is the total health. We are balancing it),” Roque said in a press conference at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The OCTA Research’s recommendation came after Metro Manila recorded an average of nearly 1,000 Covid-19 cases daily amid the threat of Delta variant.

The Philippines has logged a total of 119 cases of Delta Covid-19 variant. Around 103 have already recovered, 12 are still recuperating, and four have died.

Ready for Delta variant

Roque assured the public that the government is ready to fight the Delta coronavirus variant.

Despite the apparent spike in Delta variant cases, Roque said the IATF-EID does not see the need yet to upgrade the quarantine classification in the country.

He, nevertheless, guaranteed that the government is monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the country on a weekly basis.

He added that the quarantine status in the country will be announced every 15 days, instead of declaring it every month.

“[The declaration of] our [quarantine] classification will now be every 15 days kasi (because) we need to be able to move quickly kapag talagang sumipa ang Delta variant (if the number of cases of Delta variant continues to rise),” Roque said.

Saddened by number of poor Pinoys

Meantime, Roque said the Palace is saddened by a Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) June 23 to 26 survey which showed that 48 percent of Filipino families considered themselves as “poor”.

Roque said it is no longer surprising that many Filipinos would find themselves poor, considering that the country is still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Well, siyempre po, nalulungkot tayo diyan pero iyan po ay dahil na rin po sa nagaganap ng pandemya (of course, we are saddened by that but that is happening because of the prevailing pandemic),” he said.

According to the SWS poll, only 23 percent of Filipino families rated themselves as “not poor,” while 29 percent placed themselves on the borderline diving the two categories.

Roque said the government is doing its best to help the Filipinos cope with the pandemic.

No need for supplemental funds

Amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, Roque said there is still no need to ask for supplemental Covid-19 funds since the government still has enough money under the 2021 national budget to boost the fight against the coronavirus.

Meron pa po tayong 2021 budget at buwan pa lang po ng Hulyo. So, meron pa pong natitira sa budget (We have 2021 budget and it’s still July. So, we still have enough budget),” he said.

In case the government needs a supplemental budget, it would not hesitate to ask Congress to increase the funds earmarked for the Covid-19 response efforts, Roque said.

“Pero kung talagang kakailanganin, eh madali lang humingi ng supplemental budget. Kung kulang ang oras, pupuwede ring humingi po ng special session. Pero sa ngayon po, tinitignan natin kung meron talagang pangangailangan (If need be, it’s easy to ask for a supplemental budget. If there’s no enough time, we can ask for a special session. But as of now, we are assessing if there’s really a need for that),” he said. (PNA)