Thu. Sep 23rd, 2021

MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will be addressing “management issues” in relation to the leak of the supposed IATF recommendation to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) only in high-risk administrative regions, provinces, or areas across the country until May 15.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would leave it to the IATF to search for whoever is responsible for the leaking of photos of the supposed IATF resolution, which circulated online late Thursday, the night before President Rodrigo Duterte announced the fate of the ECQ.

“It’s a management issue na a-address-in ng (that will be addressed by the) IATF itself,” he said in an interview over DZBB.

He admitted that it would be “difficult” to determine who leaked the photos since the government officials present would also be accompanied by their respective staff members.

Roque also reminded government officials and workers of its duty to protect “confidential” information against leaks or premature disclosure.

The leaking of confidential information is also one reason why Duterte has decided to “centralize” the communication system of the government with himself taking the lead.

Last April 23, Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea authorized only him and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire to speak on behalf of the government.

He, meanwhile, expressed relief that he was not among the suspects of leaking the document.

“Mabuti na lang po ako ay hindi suspect sa pag-leak na ‘yan dahil wala po akong kopya ng PowerPoint presentation na ‘yun (It’s good that I’m not a suspect in the leak because I don’t have a copy of the PowerPoint presentation),” he said.

Roque said that he does not ask for materials from the IATF unless they are given to him for announcement.

He also assured reporters that he would only make announcements once given the go signal by the IATF.

“Kaya mga kaibigan sa media, wala po kayong aasahan na leak sa akin dahil hangga’t maaari ayoko po hawakan ang mga impormasyon na ako rin naman po ang mag-a-anunsyo hangga’t hindi kinakailangang i-anunsyo (To my friends in the media, you can’t expect any leak from me because as much as possible I don’t want keeping documents/information which I am to be announcing later,” he said.

Although Duterte would usually approve of IATF recommendations, Roque reminded the public that the President also had the option to disapprove certain recommendations.

In a recorded public address aired Friday (April 24), Duterte extended anew the ECQ in Metro Manila and other select areas that are considered high risk for Covid-19 until May 15.

Roque confirmed that Duterte approved the IATF recommendation to extend ECQ in Metro Manila, Benguet, Pangasinan, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay, and Catanduanes, Davao del Norte, and Davao City.

He said the proposed extension of ECQ in Antique, Iloilo, Cebu, and Cebu City are “subject to rechecking.”

The ECQ was initially enforced in the whole island of Luzon to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Luzon-wide ECQ was supposed to end on April 12 but was extended until April 30.

In deciding on the extension, Duterte consulted medical experts, former health secretaries, and members of IATF-EID. (IA/PNA)

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