MANILA - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday said localized, targeted lockdowns will still be imposed in areas with many COVID-19 cases, even after relaxing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.
“We are easing restrictions because Metro Manlla will be under GCQ by June 1. Still, we’re locking down high-risk barangays. That means we are actually applying what we call the localized and targeted lockdowns on barangays or even smaller subdivisions,” Año said on ANC’s Matters of Fact on Friday.
Local government units may implement the lockdown with the concurrence of the regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 response.
“But the local chief executives the governors, the mayors they can immediately declare a lockdown and it will just be concurred by the regional IAFT. If there is a conflict, then the national IATF will step in,” he said.
Starting June 1, President Rodrigo Duterte said only Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City will be under general community quarantine.
The rest of the country will meanwhile shift to a modified general community quarantine, or the step before the full easing of community quarantine measures.
“Under GCQ, people are freer to move around within the LGU that’s why we’re saying the barangay quarantine pass may no longer be needed. But f you are crossing one LGU to another, specifically a province to another province to a region, you have to secure a travel pass from the Philippine National Police,” he said.
CALIBRATED BUS OPERATION
Año said buses will be allowed to travel in Metro Manila but will be under the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
"It will be calibrated. They will start with around 300 buses to complement our LRTs and MRTs and later on they will increase the number gradually," he said.
He said it would be up to the DoTr to choose which bus operators will be covered by that number.
"It would depend on the DoTr because their purpose for allowing the buses would be to complement the LRT and MRT, at the same time to bring people to LRT and MRT locations," he said.
Modern jeeps will be allowed to operate, he said, as seats are configured to ensure that passengers could observe physical distancing.
"The configuration of the seats in the modern jeepney you can observe physical distancing but for traditional jeepneys, I think it is very hard to observe physical distancing. You have to reconfigure the seats. Pinag-aaralan pa ng ating DoTr yan," he said, adding that the agency is also conducting dialogues between jeepney drivers and operators.
Año said measures will be put in place to further boost contact tracing efforts as well.
“Bus terminals are required to make a logbook and get names and telephone numbers of passengers for possible contact tracing if there is a need,” he said.
“This is now our life, our new normal. Everything has to be reported. We still don’t have the vaccine,” he said.