MANILA - Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque rejected Monday criticism that placing Metro Manila and adjacent provinces under enhanced community quarantine is because of the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Roque said the government showed "excellent" management of the pandemic, especially when compared to richer and more advance countries, as it was able to control the transmission of the virus.
About a year since the first lockdown was imposed, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna were placed again under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting Monday until Sunday.
Asked on ANC's Headstart why he thinks the area was back to square one, Roque said: "It’s not because of government; it’s because of the virus."
"It’s because the virus mutated: there’s now the UK, South African, Brazilian, and even the Philippine variant. Unfortunately all these variants made the disease more infectious and more transmissible," he said.
"That’s something that no one can really...No one could have done anything about it because it’s in the nature of viruses to mutate. What we need to do now is to adapt to these new variants. If they are more transmissible, then we will be more vigilant in our ‘mask, hugas, iwas, and bakuna,'" he added.
Roque said the return to ECQ was a "last resort" and the inter-agency task force opted to shift back to this during this week as it coincides with the Holy Week, where Thursday and Friday are public holidays.
During this lockdown, only authorized persons outside residence may leave their homes. There is also a curfew to be observed from 6 PM to 5 AM.