MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will address the public on Thursday night to announce his final decision on the fate of the nationwide community quarantine that will lapse on May 31, Malacañang said on Thursday.
The Palace issued the statement following the leak of another alleged latest resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told the public to ignore the leaked IATF-EID resolution, stressing that only Duterte can make the final decision on the imposition of community quarantine in the country on June 1.
“‘Yung mga leaked information, huwag niyo muna pong pansinin iyan kasi (Ignore the leaked information because) that is still subject to the approval of the President. Ako po mismo, hindi ko alam kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng Presidente (Even I do not know what the President’s decision would be),” Roque said.
Resolution 40, which was supposedly approved by the IATF-EID on Wednesday, circulated on social media.
The leaked resolution revealed that only Cebu City would be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until June 15.
The regions of Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Central Visayas except Cebu City; provinces of Pangasinan and Albay; and cities of Baguio, Iloilo, Zamboanga and Davao would be allegedly put under general community quarantine (GCQ), according to the supposed IATF-EID resolution.
Modified GCQ would be allegedly imposed in the rest of the country.
Sought to validate the authenticity of the leaked resolution, Roque said: “I refuse to authenticate because that was not released by my office.”
Roque said the public should instead wait for Duterte’s announcement.
He noted that Duterte might introduce amendments to the recommendations made by the IATF-EID with regard to the implementation of community quarantine in the country.
“Ang Presidente mismo ang maga-anunsiyo (The President will be the one to make the announcement),” Roque said. “Until he has actually approved it, it (IATF-EID’s recommendation) is tentative. At past experience, meron pong binabago kahit papaano ang Presidente (Based on the past experience, the President made some revisions).”
Only the cities of Cebu and Mandaue were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 31, while the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Zambales were put under MECQ.
GCQ was enforced in all areas in the country where ECQ or MECQ were not imposed.
‘Confident’ with public compliance
Roque said the government is confident that Filipinos would continue to observe the quarantine protocols imposed to stop the further spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), should it relax the community quarantine in the country.
“The level of confidence is very high. Unang-una, napatunayan ng mga Pilipino na kaya nilang sumunod (First and foremost, Filipinos have proven that they can comply [with the quarantine rules]),” he said.
Roque said Duterte’s decision on the implementation of Philippine-wide community quarantine on June 1 would depend on the “case doubling rate, critical care capacity and the balancing of the economy.”
He reminded the public that while there is no treatment yet for Covid-19, they need to observe strict physical distancing and proper hygiene to protect themselves against the coronavirus disease.
“Let me put it this way, habang walang bakuna, habang walang gamot, talagang tataas ang numero ng Covid-19 (while there is no vaccine, while there is no cure, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country will continue to rise),” Roque said.
NCR ‘ready’ for GCQ
On Wednesday, Roque raised the possibility that GCQ will be imposed in Metro Manila starting June 1.
Roque, during the virtual press briefing, said Metro Manila is “ready” for the shift to GCQ, based on the data collected by the government.
“Well, NCR (National Capital Region or Metro Manila) is ready [based on] the data that we have seen but that really depends on the cooperation of everyone,” he said.
The possibility to downgrade MECQ in Metro Manila to GCQ came after all the 17 NCR mayors sought the shift to a less stringent community quarantine to reopen the economy for more industries to help their constituents cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
ECQ imposition still possible
Despite the possible relaxation of community quarantine in the country, Roque said the President might impose ECQ, in case Covid-19 cases in the country rise anew.
Roque, thus, appealed for public cooperation to avoid the possible resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
“Lilinawin ko lang po, kahit anong anunsiyo ng Presidente mamayang gabi, pupwede po tayong bumalik sa ECQ ulit kung ang datos ay magpapakita na napakabilis na naman po ng doubling rate (To clarify, whatever the President’s announcement tonight will be, we can go back to ECQ if we notice another alarming case doubling rate),” he said.
Roque also stressed the need to adopt the “test, trace and treat” approach.
He added that villages considered as high-risk areas may also impose a “targeted lockdown” after May 31.
“Ang desisyon po, pinapaubaya sa lokal na opisyales but in coordination pa rin with IATF (We let the local officials to decide, but still in coordination with IATF),” Roque said.
As of Wednesday, Covid-19 infections in the country have already climbed to 15,049. (PNA)