While medical frontliners appealed for the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to be imposed in Metro Manila, Malacañang said the government had to compromise to balance public health and the economy, thus settling for a modified ECQ.

“Iyan po ay compromise dahil talagang hindi na po natin kakayanin ang complete lockdown at ang importante naman po ay magbukas tayo ng kahit papaano ng ating ekonomiya,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing at Wil Tower.

Doctors earlier pleaded for the most stringent community quarantine protocols as the country’s healthcare system became overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.

Roque said that if ECQ was implemented, more workers would have struggled financially as jobs and travel would be restricted, and the government did not have money for subsidies.

“As we lock down again, hindi pa po natin alam kung saan kukunin iyong ayuda para sa mga mamamayan na hindi po pupuwedeng magtrabaho. Ganoon po kasi ka-complex at controversial itong desisyon na ito,” he explained.

Roque said that the country could not withstand prolonged lockdowns as the economy had already suffered a huge blow.

“Lalabas ngayon ang pigura ng second quarter [gross domestic product] growth natin, napakatindi po ng ibinaba ng ating ekonomiya. Kaya nga po ang aming mensahe sa ating taumbayan, kinakailangan po ingatan ang ating kalusugan para po tayo ay makapaghanapbuhay,” he said.

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal were placed under modified ECQ from Aug. 4 to 18, following frontliners’ plea for a “time out” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country on Tuesday saw its biggest daily spike in Covid-19 cases with 6,352 new infections recorded, bringing the national total to 112,593. John Ezekiel J. Hirro