MANILA – Foreigners are free to return to their respective home countries if they cannot follow the quarantine protocols imposed by the Philippine government to fight coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said foreign nationals only have the option to either follow the quarantine rules or leave the Philippines.
Roque stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte wants strict enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in areas with confirmed Covid-19 cases.
He said everyone must observe strict home quarantine amid the implementation of ECQ in the entire Luzon and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
“Ang ECQ, ipapatupad sa lahat – sa mayaman, sa mahirap, sa Pilipino o sa dayuhan. Kung ayaw niyong tumupad diyan, lalung-lalo na mga dayuhan, umalis na kayo ng Pilipinas, you are free to go (ECQ must be followed by everyone – the rich, the poor, Filipinos and foreigners. Violators, especially foreigners, are free to go and leave the Philippines),” he said.
On Sunday, four members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) entered the premises of Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig City to check the condominium’s compliance with quarantine guidelines.
The PNP personnel inspected the high-end residential condominium after receiving reports that some of its residents were violating the quarantine protocols.
Roque said police officers went to the condominium after some residents of Pacific Plaza complained against some foreigners who are living there and still gathering in common areas like swimming pool despite the strict implementation of ECQ.
“Ibig sabihin po, meron pong nag-sumbong sa pulis na naging dahilan kaya pumasok po sila sa Pacific Plaza (Meaning, there are some who complained to the police officers, prompting them to inspect Pacific Plaza),” he said.
“At ang reklamo ay meron daw ilang mga residente, ilang mga dayuhang mayayaman na nagpupumilit at lumalabag sa ECQ (The complaint is some residents, including rich foreigners, are violating ECQ),” he said.
Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under ECQ until April 30 to arrest the spread of Covid-19.
Quarantine violators will face a two-month jail sentence or a fine of PHP10,000 up to PHP1 million, or both, according to Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Duterte is poised to decide Thursday on whether ECQ in Luzon will be lifted, modified, or extended after April 30. (PNA)