Duterte to decide virus quarantines as cases rise with economic restart

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2020 08:40 AM | Updated as of Jun 15 2020 01:23 PM

Duterte to decide virus quarantines as cases rise with economic restart 1
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo

Some LGUs appeal IATF recommendations ahead of decision

MANILA (UPDATE)-- President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on the Philippines' virus restrictions, as current restrictions that allow limited economic activity are set to expire on Monday.

The 75-year-old leader will face the nation as early as Monday, after meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on pandemic response, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier told reporters.

Up to 75 percent of the economy was reopened after Metro Manila and some urban centers were downgraded to a general community quarantine, after enduring an 11-week lockdown or enhanced community quarantine, said acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.

Except for the capital region, Pangasinan province, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Davao City, and Zamboanga City, which are under general community quarantine, all areas in the country are under modified GCQ until June 15.

A modified GCQ or MGCQ is the lowest quarantine classification, and a step above the "new normal" with minimum health standards.

The lockdown caused the first GDP contraction in 22 years. Unemployment which soared to a record 17.7 percent in April, padding the number of jobless Filipinos to 7.3 million.

Malacañang on Sunday said restrictions would likely be limited to either GCQ, MGCQ, or elevated again to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ.

"Bahala po ang Presidente kasi binabalanse naman po natin iyong ekonomiya at sapat naman po iyong kakayahan nating magbigay ng medical care doon sa mga magkakasakit nang critical, iyong critical care capacity natin," Roque said on Sunday.

(It's up to the President because we are balancing the economy. We have the capacity to provide critical medical care to those who will get sick.)

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS APPEAL

Several local government units appealed the recommended community quarantine classification of their respective jurisdictions ahead of President Duterte's announcement.

Roque said the IATF met Monday to discuss the appeals of LGUs such as Cebu City which asked to be placed under the stricter MECQ from the prevailing GCQ.

The Department of Health earlier said that Cebu City was a hotspot for the COVID-19 outbreak.

The following areas, according to Roque, wanted to be placed under general community quarantine from June 16 until the end of the month:

  • Quezon province
  • Abra
  • Apayao
  • Caraga Region
  • Lanao del Sur

The following areas meanwhile wanted to be placed under modified general community quarantine, or the most relaxed type of community quarantine:

  • Pangasinan
  • Angeles City
  • Nueva Ecija 
  • Zambales
  • Pampanga
  • Cavite
  • Cebu province

LGUs of Dagupan City, Batanes, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur appealed for "de-escalation" of prevailing community quarantine protocols in their respective jurisdictions, Roque said.

As of June 14, the Philippines has confirmed 25,930 COVID-19 cases. This includes 1,088 deaths and 5,954 recoveries.