MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that Metro Manila's 12 million people would remain under general community quarantine, the third strictest of 4 lockdown levels, until Nov. 30, even as authorities sought to revive the pandemic-battered economy.
Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del Sur will also be under GCQ from Nov. 1 to 30, he said in a taped speech aired Tuesday.
Mayors of Metro Manila earlier urged to keep the GCQ status next month.
"Ang gusto ng karamihan (that majority wants to), make it permanent because they have seen the goodness of the result. It has considerably lowered the number of people infected with the microbe," said the President.
"Palagay ko naman sa inyo rin itong kapakanan (I think it's for your welfare). Look, we are not here to make your life miserable or sad. We are here to make your life comfortable, and to make you happy," he added.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the quarantine classifications have been approved, but local officials can send appeal until Oct. 28.
Metro Manila, which accounts for about a third of the gross domestic product, has been under GCQ since August. The trade department recently allowed some businesses in GCQ areas to operate at full capacity.
The Philippines is forecast to see a 6.9 percent economic contraction this year, the World Bank has said, the biggest since the 1980s and worse than the government's projected 5.5 percent decline.
Its recovery has been constrained by an unrelenting first wave of infections since March, with more than 370,000 cases, limiting its ability to fully reopen businesses, and restart domestic and international tourism.
The health department on Monday recorded 1,607 new coronavirus infections and 62 more deaths.
In a bulletin, the agency said total confirmed cases had increased to 371,630, while deaths had reached 7,039. The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. - With a report from Reuters