BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., one of the millions of Filipinos infected by coronavirus, yesterday said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), that there will no more lockdowns imposed in the country, despite the increase in COVID-19 infections.
Acknowledging that there is still the threat of COVID-19, especially with the discovery of new variants of the coronavirus, Marcos said “we cannot afford to have another lockdown.”
Talking about the government response to COVID-19, he stressed a balance between the country’s economy and the health and welfare of Filipinos.
Marcos also retained the COVID-19 Alert Level System, as he seeks the reclassification of restrictions, which would be more compatible with the currently milder strains of the coronavirus.
If booster doses were given to more people, the COVID-19 Alert Level System could be adjusted, Marcos said in his first SONA that lasted for about one hour and 20 minutes.
He also announced that full face-to-face classes will soon return for all students, with the utmost consideration for the safety of students, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must ensure that our classrooms are safe for teachers, for students and the entire academic community when they return to face-to-face classes.”
Beyond the issues brought about by COVID-19, the need for a stronger healthcare system is also evident, he said.
“We must bring medical services to the people and not wait for them to come to the hospitals and healthcare centers,” Marcos said.
He also stressed the need to put up specialist hospitals like the Heart Center, the Lung Center, the Children’s Hospital and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, outside Manila.
Healthcare services will also be deployed to hard-to-reach places a few times per week, so that people will no longer need to travel to town or regional centers to seek medical help, Marcos said, as he also pledged to improve working conditions for doctors and nurses.*