Mon. Sep 20th, 2021

MANILA – The imposition of enhanced community quarantine in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod will continue until May 15 to stop the further transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang announced on Thursday.

In a meeting held Wednesday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases ((IATF-EID) agreed to include Iloilo and Bacolod cities in the list of areas that will be under the extended ECQ, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Talagang base po iyan sa dami ng kaso at doon sa kakayahan ng lugar na magbigay ng medical services (This is based on the number of confirmed [Covid-19] cases and the capability of these places to provide medical services),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.

Roque said other places that will remain under ECQ are Metro Manila; Central Luzon, except Aurora; Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon); Pangasinan; Benguet; Iloilo; Cebu; Cebu City; and Davao City.

Roque initially announced on Wednesday that Iloilo City has been removed from the roster of areas that are under ECQ until May 15.

Bacolod City’s inclusion was also announced following the appeal of the Bacolod City Council to the IATF-EID to grant the extension of ECQ in their locality to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Exemptions for vulnerable individuals

On Wednesday, the IATF-EID also approved the omnibus guidelines on the implementation of ECQ in select areas in the country.

Roque said individuals who belong to age groups 21 and below and 60 and above; people with immunodeficiency, co-morbidities, or other health risks; and pregnant women residing in areas under ECQ are required to remain in their residences “at all times.”

He said they can only go outside of their homes “when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.”

“Pwede lang po kayong lumabas para kumuha ng essential goods or services o para magtrabaho sa mga pinapayagang industriya (You can only go out to get essential goods or services or to work in permitted industries),” Roque said.

Allowed services

Roque noted that manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products, medicine and vitamins, medical supplies, devices and equipment, and essential products would be allowed in areas where ECQ is imposed.

He said establishments involved in the production, manufacturing, packaging, processing, and distribution of food may operate at a maximum of 50 percent of their respective workforces, “unless the supply level of a basic food product warrants a higher capacity.”

“Magbibigay po ng awtorisasyon ang DTI para po sa temporary increase of workforce capacity (The Department of Trade and Industry is authorized to approve the temporary increase of workforce capacity),” Roque said.

Roque said manufacturers of medicines, medical supplies, devices, and equipment can also operate “at full capacity” during the ECQ period.

He added that the IATF-EID also allowed delivery services for food, medicine, other essential goods, clothing, accessories, hardware, housewares, school and office supplies, and pet food and other veterinary products.

Also allowed in areas under ECQ are the operation of power, energy, water, information technology, and telecommunication supplies and facilities, including waste disposal services, as well as property management and building utility services, Roque said.

Work resumption

Roque said the work of airline and aircraft maintenance employees, including pilots and crew, and ship captains and crew can also resume in areas where ECQ is implemented.

“This is subject to guidelines to be imposed by the Department of Transportation. Ang guidelines po dapat may social distancing ng isang metro po sa isang eroplano (Under the guidelines, there should be social distancing of at least one meter in an airplane),” he said.

Roque said the IATF-EID also allowed media establishments to operate at a “maximum operational capacity of 50 percent of their total permanent staff.”

He added that construction workers accredited by the Department of Public Works and Highways can also resume work on facilities identified for purposes of quarantine and isolation.

Manufacturing companies and suppliers of equipment or products necessary to perform construction works are also allowed to operate in areas under ECQ, Roque noted.

“Yung mga manggagawa po na accredited ng Department of Transportation para po mag-trabaho sa (Workers accredited by the Department of Transportation to work on) utility relocation works, and specified limited works across 13 railway projects, including replacement works for the Metro Manila Rail Transit System (can now resume work),” he said.

Roque said there should be on-site or near-site accommodations or point-to-point shuttle services provided to construction workers.

He said the IATF-EID also agreed to allow personnel of the Philippine Postal Corporation and the Philippine Statistics Authority to work in places that are under ECQ.

He added that people rendering funeral and embalming services, humanitarian aid, veterinary assistance, and security services can also leave their homes.

Roque noted that pastors, priests, imams, or such other religious ministers are allowed to conduct necrological or funeral rites.

“Immediate family members po ng mga namatay, doon po sa ibang dahilan (of the deceases from causes) other than Covid-19 ay pwede na pong mag-move (are allowed to move) from their residences to attend the wake or interment of the deceased upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the latter,” he said.

Roque said hotel operations would be limited to the provision of basic lodging to guests.

He said government offices and private corporations are enjoined to process payrolls online.

For those who cannot process payrolls online, managers and employees required to print payrolls are allowed to travel and operate during the ECQ implementation, Roque said.

IATF-accredited IDs

He said regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over permitted establishments or persons are tasked to issue official IATF-accredited identification cards (IDs).

“Bona fide IDs issued by establishments exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement shall likewise be honored by law enforcement agencies,” Roque said.

Roque said RapidPass System would also be complementary to the existing IATF IDs.

He stressed that enrollment for RapidPass IDs is “voluntary” and will only cover qualified private sectors or entities.

“Cargo vehicles, as well as vehicles used by public utility companies, BPOs (business process outsourcing) and export-oriented establishments, shall not be subject to an ID system),” he said.

Roque said the Philippine National Police would continue to conduct inspection procedures in checkpoints to ensure that protocols on strict home quarantine are observed. (IA/PNA)

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