'Total lockdown' an option if violations of COVID-19 quarantine measures continue: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2020 02:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 16 2020 03:56 PM

Police officers in protective gear check the identification and temperature of motorists crossing from Cainta to Pasig City on April 15, 2020. Local government units have set up checkpoints between their boundaries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while Luzon is on enhanced community quarantine. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Declaring a "total lockdown" is among the government's options to contain the spread of COVID-19, Malacañang said Thursday following reports that more people were violating enhanced community quarantine protocols.

While Palace officials denied earlier this week reports that the government will quarantine the whole country, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said such a measure is being considered if the rise in COVID-19 cases won't slow down, and if more violators crop up during the remaining days of the lockdown.

The lockdown in Luzon is set to end on April 30, already extended from the original end date of April 12. 

"Hindi po 'fake news' na kinokonsidera ang total lockdown lalo na kung magpapatuloy ang mga pasaway sa ating mga kalsada so 'wag na po natin pahabain itong ECQ," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

(It's not fake news that a total lockdown is being considered if there are more violators so please, don't prolong this ECQ anymore.)

"Tumupad na po tayo sa ating obligasyon at kaunting panahon na lang po ang natitira sa ating ECQ," he said.

(Do your part since it won't be much long until the end of our ECQ.)

Former Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo previously described a total lockdown as a situation where all establishments, except for groceries and supermarkets, would be closed.

 VIOLATORS SHOULD BE ASHAMED

Roque said violators of the enhanced community quarantine protocols should be ashamed given that the country has already recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

"Nakakahiya po 'yan. Itigil niyo na 'yang pagiging pasaway at manatili kayo sa inyong mga tahanan," he said.

(That is embarrassing. Stop being stubborn and stay home.)

"Dapat tayong mga Pilipino mahiya dahil nagpapakita tayo ng walang disiplina eh samantalang ginagawa naman po natin ito dahil nais nating maiwasan magkasakit ang ating mga kababayan," he said.

(We Filipinos should be ashamed for showing how undisciplined we are when we are just doing this so that our countrymen won't get sick.)

The government extended the lockdown of its most populous island Luzon until April 30 as the government said it needed more time to prepare for a "new normal."

On Wednesday, stricter checkpoints were enforced after traffic was reported in some major thoroughfares in Luzon despite the ongoing lockdown.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the conduct of Filipinos is also a factor in deciding the fate of the lockdown.

“Siyempre lahat naman tayo gusto nang pumunta doon sa new normal pero siyempre 'yung decision points also ng gobyerno will be based on the attitude and the conduct ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan lalong-lalo na sa Luzon, lalong lalo na sa NCR,” Nograles said.

(We all want to go to the new normal but the decision points of the government will also be based on the attitude and conduct of our countrymen especially in Luzon, and NCR.)

Roque, meanwhile, assured the public that the government is finding a "balance" between public health and economic security in deciding what will happen after April 30.

"Humahanap tayo ng balanse between 'yung obligasyon ng estado na protektahan ang kalusugan ng mamamayan doon naman sa karapatan ng mamamayan na magkaroon ng hanapbuhay," Roque said.

(We are finding a balance between the state's obligation to protect the health of the public and their right to make a living.)

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded a cumulative 5,453 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 349 deaths, and 353 recoveries.