MANILA – Lawyers providing legal representation for persons arrested for alleged violations in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be allowed to pass through quarantine control points.

This after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) amended its Omnibus Guidelines to allow the transit of lawyers providing legal representation for persons arrested in areas under ECQ.

“So mga abogado po diyan sa Talisay at saka sa Cebu, bagamat stay at home po ang lahat, pupuwede po kayong puntahan ang inyong mga kliyente na may problema po sa mga alagad ng batas (So lawyers in Talisay and Cebu, even if we should stay home, you are allowed to visit your clients facing problems with law enforcement authorities),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser on Tuesday.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte reverted Cebu City from general community quarantine (GCQ) to a stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until June 30 due to the increasing number of new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and widespread community transmission in majority of barangays in the city.

He also placed Talisay City, a component city under the province of Cebu, under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until June 30 for the same reasons.

Under ECQ, only essential businesses and services related to food, agriculture, and export-oriented businesses including business process outsourcing (BPOs) will be allowed to operate.

The public transportation system remains suspended in areas under ECQ.

MECQ will allow more businesses and services to operate but only at a 50 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, Roque said the IATF-EID approved the recommendation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to create a complaints office under the Philippine Ports Authority that will accept and address all complaints against international shipping lines under IATF-EID Resolution No. 46.

The IATF-EID approved the recommendation to prescribe a minimum of eight-day free time period per shipping line.

Also approved was the suggestion that all domestic shipping lines should allocate a percentage of cargo space every voyage exclusively to agriculture and food products and to change preferential rates.

Guidelines for the resumption of operation of approved training organization for areas under GCQ were also approved but subject to the review of the Department of Health. (PNA)