Get It Straight Recap: Return to MECQ, Frontliners’ Woes and More

During the first week of August (Aug. 3-7) this year, Kuya Daniel Razon tackled some of the relevant issues related to the government’s response to Covid-19. 

Through insightful interviews with resource persons, Kuya Daniel shed light on the country’s problem about internet connectivity, which is badly needed today by students and employees.  

He also clarified certain issues regarding the reliability of testing methods currently used for Covid-19. 

The veteran broadcaster also updated Filipinos on the safety measures implemented by authorities after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and some nearby provinces under modified enhanced community
quarantine (MECQ) again. 

From August 4 to 18, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal reverted from GCQ or General Community Quarantine, to MECQ. 

State of Internet Connectivity

In the August 3 episode, Eliseo Rio Jr., former undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), graced Get It Straight’s invitation. 

The interview, which occupied most of the episode, centered on the present condition of internet connection in the country. Rio agreed with Kuya Daniel that the bandwidth speed in the country is one of the worst in the world. The former government official attributed the poor service by telecommunication companies to the lack of infrastructure, particularly on the number of cell towers. Being one of the heaviest online consumers, the Philippines needs to install at least 50,000 towers and more kilometers of fiber optic cables to be at par with Vietnam’s online speed. 

The former DICT officer also revealed how internet providers, Smart and Globe, are scrambling to improve their services after Pres. Duterte’s stern warning on them during his recent state of the nation address. Rio said that in response, both Smart and Globe are currently in talks with the DICT, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and local government units to ease the red tape in putting up cell towers. 

The interview also tackled the capability of DITO Telecommunity, the upcoming third major internet provider, to compete with the current duopoly. Rio said DITO promised to comply with the government’s demands, including a P25.7 billion bond, which could be voided if the third telco company fails to comply with its commitment to provide an average of 27-Mbps connection speed. 

Covid-19 Testing Concerns

Kuya Daniel asked the present condition of doctors and medical professionals in their fight against the pandemic in the program’s August 5 episode. Representing the frontliners was Dr Maricar Limpin, vice president of Philippine College of Physicians. 

In the discussion, Kuya Daniel seized the opportunity to confirm the accuracy of Rapid Antibody Test. Dr Limpin echoed the doubt of the organization on the reliability of the test. She said even the World Health Organization discourages the use of the test in determining who are positive of Covid-19.  

Instead of the Rapid Antibody Test, Dr Limpin recommended the 14-day test for screening. She said that apart from better accuracy, the measure is cheaper because it does not use specialized kits or equipment. This mod requires monitoring a person whether he or she develops Covid-19 symptoms within 14 days. Once the person contracts any symptom, he/she will get the swab test for confirmation. 

When asked about the organization’s stand about the MECQ, Limpin said it is a good enough measure to limit the spread of the disease. She is also optimistic that the number of Covid-19 cases will reduce in weeks because of the stricter quarantine guidelines. 

To wrap up the interview, Kuya Daniel asked Dr. Limpin the truth about the alleged destabilization plot by medical professionals. “Wala po kaming planong mag-stage ng rebelyon,” was her straightforward reply. She added that the medical frontliners are one with the government in its fight against the deadly virus. 

“Ang gobyerno, kami pong mga medical professionals, pati na rin po ang buong sambayanang Pilipino ay kailangang kumilos at magtulong-tulong (The government, the medical professionals and the entire Filipino nation must act and join forces). This is the only way by which we can emerge as winners in our battle against Covid-19.”

Metro Manila Under MECQ…Again

At the latter part of the show, Kuya Daniel interviewed P/Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Commander for Joint Task Force Covid Shield to clarify the guidelines on travel restrictions following Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s placement of Metro Manila and nearby provinces under MECQ. 

In the interview, Eleazar clarified who are considered authorized persons outside residence (APORs) and who could be allowed to pass through police checkpoints. 

He also added that frontliners, essential workers and APORs can ride on motorcycles driven by someone else provided the drivers wear authorized protective shields. This mode of transportation became popular when many areas in the Philippines have been placed under different lockdown levels. 

The police officer also appealed to people in areas under MECQ to stay at home as much as possible and cooperate with the restrictions imposed by authorities.