MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision on the fate of Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be based on “science,” Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement, as he stressed that Duterte is expected to decide anytime today with regards to the implementation of ECQ in Luzon.
“Inaasahan po natin na ang Presidente ay magde-desisyon sang-ayon po sa siyensiya (We are expecting that the President will make a decision based on science),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Roque said Duterte would meet with select members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday afternoon to discuss the possible total lifting, partial lifting, or another extension of ECQ in Luzon.
Duterte is expected to hold a meeting with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Roque said.
Roque, for the first time, also presented the IATF-EID’s recommendations to Duterte.
He said the IATF-EID submitted a framework that should be considered by Duterte when deciding on ECQ’s fate in Luzon.
Roque said Duterte should assess what establishments can resume operations, who can go out to work, and what modes of public transportation can be allowed to operate.
“Hindi po natin pupwedeng ibig sabihin na indefinite ang ating ECQ dahil kinakailangan naman, magkaroon ng hanapbuhay ang ating mga mamamayan (We cannot say that the ECQ implementation is indefinite because our fellow Filipinos also need to go to work),” he said.
Roque emphasized that Duterte should also weigh the number of people who might get infected with Covid-19, the duration of infection, its peak, the total number of infected individuals, the number of severe and critical cases, the number of deaths, and health gains.
Citing the findings of IATF-EID, Roque said people aged 60 and above, as well as those aged 20 and below, are more vulnerable to Covid-19.
He said it was proposed that ECQ be extended in areas with 70 percent critical care utilization rate.
He added that the IATF-EID recommended the imposition of ECQ in areas with critical care utilization rate of 30 percent to 70 percent, as well as the lifting of ECQ in areas with less than 30 percent critical care utilization rate.
“Ang ninanais po natin, kung magkakaroon ng relaxation or lifting ng ECQ, dapat sapat ang kakayahan ng ating health sector na magbigay ng medical attention sa lahat ng posibleng magkasakit ng Covid-19 (What we want is health sector in areas where ECQ will be relaxed or lifted is ready to give medical attention to those who might acquire Covid-19),” Roque said.
The Luzon-wide ECQ was supposed to end on April 12 but was extended until April 30 to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.
Roque guaranteed that Duterte’s decision would be favorable to all Filipinos.
“Naniniwala po ako na ang desisyon niya (Duterte) ay magiging base doon sa pinaka-importanteng karapatan sa lahat, ang karapatang mabuhay (I am confident that his decision would be based on the most important right of all, the right to live),” he said. (PNA)