Duterte to be guided by science in deciding on Luzon lockdown: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 02:04 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2020 07:40 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte holds a meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 13, 2020. Karl Norman Alonzo, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte will base on science his decision on the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon when it ends on April 30, Malacañang said Monday as millions await the government's next move to address the coronavirus crisis.

Duterte will meet with health experts, including former secretaries of the Department of Health, on Monday afternoon to get their views, his spokesman Harry Roque said.

"Ang desisyon na dapat gawin po ng Presidente ay dapat base sa siyensiya," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

(The decision of the President should be based on science.)

"He will be guided by science."

Among the experts that the President will meet are Janet Garin, Esperanza Cabral, Jaime Galvez Tan, Susan Mercado, Anthony Leachon, Ana Lisa Ong Lim, Marissa Alejandria, Katherine Ann Reyes, and Alfredo Mahar Lagmay.

The country's pandemic task force is also meeting on Monday to prepare its recommendations to the President.

Luzon, home to more than half of the country's population, has been on lockdown since March 17 as the government sought to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Millions were forced to stay home as the government imposed strict quarantine protocols. The lockdown was supposed to end on April 12 but Duterte extended it to April 30.

So far, Roque said Duterte is looking at 2 options once the lockdown extension ends: he could extend it again, or modify it at the provincial, city or municipal, and barangay levels.

"Ang magiging basehan ng ating Presidente ay ang rekomendasyon ng IATF (inter-agency task force on COVID-19), ang rekomendasyon ng mga dalubhasa, at ito po ay magiging base sa siyensiya," Roque said.

(The decision of the President will be based on the recommendation of the IATF, experts, and this will be based on science.)