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Philippine president decides to extend lockdown to 15 May 2020: Response of Nicanor Perlas

Today, morning of 24 April 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte (PRRD) announced his decision to extend the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from April 30 to 15 May 2020. ECQ is the official name of the total lockdown approach that the government adopted in the Philippines. 

Earlier, on April 19, on the basis of new scientific findings and the collective global experience, I had written an Open Letter to PRRD. I encouraged him to save both lives and Philippine society including its economy through the Precise Quarantine and Immunity (PQI) approach. On April 20, we posted that letter and its supporting Briefing Paper in this “Covid Call to Humanity” website. 

That posting went viral. In less than four (4) days, the website received over 100,000 page views, specific to that Open Letter. In addition, we know for sure that the Open Letter reached President Duterte. 

Therefore, when individuals learned of PRRD’s decision, they asked me what I thought about the decision. How did it compare with what I had proposed?

I can only give a beginning answer at this point. The research team is still transcribing the President’s announcement and the comments of the members of his Cabinet and his advisers. By tomorrow, I write a full and detailed answer on PRRD’s decision. 

As an overview comment, I can say that 5 out of the 7 of the principles of PQI are touched upon in the President’s decision.  The government uses different words and details regarding these principles. But, in essence, there is some form of convergence. 

In short, the new decision is no longer a total lockdown and that, for us, is very important. Even if high-risk areas will still be in total lockdown, and some key aspects are missing (see below) the new decision is a highly modified, more specific quarantine approach, convergent with key principles that we had been proposing. 

…if government and its medical advisers continue to ignore the power of natural and collective immunity, this blind spot will ultimately have adverse impacts on all the rest of the other principles.

I must quickly add, however, that this does not mean any direct credit goes to my suggestions. It only means that the ideas I proposed must have also been in the mind of his technical advisers and some members of the Cabinet who may also have independently come up with the same approach. 

The source of the idea is not of importance to us. What is vital is that new approach gives assurance to the country that things may slowly shift towards normality.  Millions, in low risk areas, can now re-experience a freer, less fearful life albeit in a so-called “new normal” atmosphere. Key businesses can now start the important process of rebuilding the shattered economy. The 100% freedom of the value chain of agriculture is also very significant. (I will give a more critical perspective on this “new normal” tomorrow.) 

Here briefly are the 5 principles of that are convergent with the new decision. For details, kindly refer to the last section of the Briefing Paper that explains these principles in detail. (Note the wordings below may different from the original Briefing Paper but the central idea is still the same.)

  • Protect the elderly. (Principle 1)
  • Self-isolation by those exhibiting symptoms (Principle 2)
  • Allow individuals to go back to low-risk work situations. (Principle 4)
  • Remove lockdown in low risk province, cities, towns, and barangays (Principle 5)
  • Implement a communication, monitoring and enforcement system. (Principle 7) 

Two principles of PQI are not part of the decision. 

  • Allow children to go back to school. (Principle 3)
  • Educate the nation on the importance of natural immunity (Principle 6)

A lack of appreciation for the role of immunity in stopping the virus is tragic. It has affected a nuanced consideration of Principle 3 above. 

And ultimately, if government and its medical advisers continue to ignore the power of natural and collective immunity, this blind spot will ultimately have adverse impacts on all the rest of the other principles.

Interfering with the natural workings of collective immunity with continued prolonged lockdowns will ultimately undermine the temporary gains of isolation. A second wave of infections will certainly revisit the country (as explained in the Briefing Paper).

Meanwhile, more scientific evidence continues to emerge that supports the seven (7) principles of PQI. We will be posting these articles soon. 

In the end, nothing can withstand the power of an informed citizenry, especially if they start to seriously strengthen their own immune system.

Stay with us. The journey is just starting to get really interesting, and even exciting, as some are commenting. 

In the end, nothing can withstand the power of an informed citizenry, especially if they start to seriously strengthen their own immune system. In addition, from such informed citizenry, all kinds of creative solutions will emerge that will ultimately conquer the virus. 

14 replies on “Philippine president decides to extend lockdown to 15 May 2020: Response of Nicanor Perlas”

The website is excellent so humanly thoughtful! I appreciate the term collective immunity rather than herd immunity. I also appreciate how one can ove back and forth on the journey til one grasps the cb oncepts and the 3 fold aspect of both understanding and developing immunity with practical lifestyle measures! I will post and share surely! Heartfelt thanks to all who helped put this together,
Cultivating hope rather than fear.

The collective immunity is already happening on its own, not due to deliberate policy but by forced circumstance. The overcrowded, and impoverished, communities never had a chance to practice correct physical distancing because there simply was not enough space. Yet, collective immunity emerged rather than massive epidemics – an unintended lesson but one which should be quickly and very deeply observed, enhanced, and encouraged.

Thank you for this clear message that conveys humility and leveraging convergence to serve the greater whole – the Filipino people. And thank you for modeling this mindset and “heartset” for all especially for our government officials.

Hoping that the government will seriously and totally consider this great initiative. TY Doc. Nic Perlas

Thank you Nic for this very clear reply. There is really a need to inform the people most particularly the common people on the new normal. For me this should be given attention to by our local government, up to the barangay or sitio levels. The schools or the academe should also do more on this.

I totally agree with the immunity. When the lockdown happened, my first thought was how to increase or boost immunity of my family members. Healthy and mindful practices were reinforced like daily meditation, taking vitamin C, drinking boiled turmeric and plant based teas, and taking MCT/VCO. The COVID19 pandemic has thought us to reflect on how we take care of ourselves so we would be able to take care of others (self to the collective).

Thank you for this initiative, Nick. Would you be open to possibilities of dealing with local government units directly? I am not in the position to really influence any of them. But I am suggesting to Gardy and his colleagues who are close to Bohol’s Governor (and Tagbilaran City Mayor), if they can discuss this possibility with you and present it to them as an alternative view of the situation. Bohol had a Chinese woman who, early on, tested positive but later got cured and went home. Since then, there had been no other positive case yet.

While I do support the idea of naturally acquiring immunity in the absence of an effective vaccine, IMO deferring principle 3 is a sound decision for a number of reasons. For one, asthma is common among children making them vulnerable. Second you do not send everyone out without contingency measures in case your subjects get critically ill This means we ll’have to wait for an effective treatment protocol. Third transport system is limited. Fourth they can transfer the disease to vulnerable members of their household. The concept is risky and unethical by medical principles and possibly are the reasons why our local health advisers do not support it but if you can get around the odds it offers a comprehensive solution in the absence of vaccine.

This is a more nuanced approach than total lockdown. I especially like the idea of reopening schools, especially for the youngest. I hope the ideas get traction.

Dear All,

thanks for all the kind comments and encouragements. It is deeply appreciated and heartfelt. Since I cannot address all of you individually, I will synthesize my comments. You will know from the comments which among your comments I am addressing. I am referring to the first four comments.

Indeed collective immunity is most likely moving way ahead of the infected cases. Kindly refer to the Stanford study that is already referred to in this website. [See: https://covidcalltohumanity.org/antibody-testing-shows-coronavirus-more-widespread-than-preciously-thought/ ]. It shows, from antibody testing that there were 50 to 85x more infection than the existing recorded infections. Yet there is no spiking up of the death rate.

Immunity is difficult to grasp as it requires a specific mindset AND heartset to understand. And a pandemic of fear does not help.

And, yes, that would really be neat if some LGUs practice the 7 principles of PQI and see what happens with others using the conventional approach.

I would like to end these brief remarks with an advisory.

WE HAVE RECEIVED WORD THAT FACEBOOK SEEMS TO BE BANNING TRAFFIC FROM THEIR SITE TO THIS SITE. They have also been banning other sites that have spiked up before. We have now reached 110.000 views.

We will write more about this soon. Meanwhile, kindly tell your friends to go directly to our website so that they will not be locked out. Thanks a lot for your interest and involvement.

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