Duterte approves Luzon-wide community quarantine until April 30
(Philstar.com) - April 7, 2020 - 10:18am

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2: 11:01 a.m.) — The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon is extended until April 30, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Tuesday.

In a late night address Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte’s late night address where he said the government is “inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30.”

Nograles, in a virtual briefing Tuesday morning, said that the president accepted the Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ recommendation to extend the ECQ in Luzon.

“Our [IATF’s] recommendation to President Duterte is accepted by the President, and he announced it last night,” Nograles said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“We verified it and the answer was the ECQ is hereby extended until 11:59 p.m. until April 30,” he added.

Nograles said the IATF passed two resolutions on Monday night. In Resolution No. 20, the IATF formally recommended “the extension of the implementation of the [ECQ] in the entirety of Luzon up to April 30, 2020” to the Office of the President.

He added that the resolution noted that exemptions previously granted by the IATF and the Office of the President shall continue in the duration of the extended enhanced community quarantine.

“Such extension of the ECQ shall be without prejudice to the discretion of the president to relax that implementation of the ECQ in some local jurisdictions or the ranting of exemptions in favor of certain sectors such as public health considerations and food security may warrant,” Nograles also said.

IATF recommendation

Nograles explained that experts said they will need until mid-April to really study the effect of the ECQ, which started on March 15.

This prompted the IATF to recommend and extension of the lockdown until April 30.

The extended lockdown will also help increase the health capacity of the country.

“When we say increasing health capacity, it included testing. Experts say that to manage COVID-10 effectively, we need to increase the country’s testing capacity that we may reach 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day,” he explained.

He also said that they need to have a 24-hour turnaround time for the release of COVID-19 test results. 

On March 25, the health department admitted that mass testing is not an option in the country due to limited testing kits and laboratory health capacity.

Peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Action Plan on COVID-19, said that the government is eyeing mass testing for possible COVID-1 infections and those who had close contact with patients on April 14.

Duterte public address

Duterte on Monday night said that the government is “inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30.”

The president also admitted that the government is getting "desperate" as it is under pressure to spend money even if it is not generating enough revenues due to slower economic activity.

"The P100 billion for one month or P270 billion for two months as estimated earlier is not enough. I'm calling on the secretary of finance to generate (revenues). Magnakaw ka, manghiram ka magproduce ka ng pera. Pag naubos na ito, di ko malaman (You steal, you borrow, produce money. If it runs out, I don't know)," Duterte said.

"We are finding ways to adjust the budget... We will prioritize the people, the stomach. If they have nothing to eat, a human being can become violent," the president said. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Alexis Romero

LUZON LOCKDOWN NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Photo shows members of the Philippine National Police deployed in Manila amid COVID-19 threat. The STAR/Edd Gumban

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 declares an enhanced community quarantine over all of mainland Luzon, an expansion of an earlier general community quarantine over the National Capital Region.

The entire National Capital Region—16 cities and a municipality—is under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, which means the enforcement of social distancing measures like letting fewer people on public transportation, reduced store hours, and the possibiity of curfews.

According to a memorandum issued by the Palace on Saturday, March 14, the quarantine means that "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points."

Travel restrictions in and out of the capital will also be implemented.

April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Batangas, one of the provinces hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has reported no new cases of the disease for two consecutive days.

The provincial DOH Office says the number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 91 with no new cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lipa City has the most cases with 26, followed by Batangas City (21) and Nasugbu (11).

Tanauan City has the fourth most cases with eight, followed by Bauan (5) and Alitagtag (3). Cuenca and Sto. Tomas City had two cases each, while the municipalities of Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual and Taal had one case each, respectively. — The Filipino Connection

April 29, 2020 - 5:39pm

Quezon City's Task Force Disiplina has been instructed to withdraw its complaint against Michael Rubuia whom city "enforcers" were caught on video beating with sticks over alleged quarantine violations.

The QC government says in the same statement that the enforcers of Task Force Disiplina have been issued show-cause orders for their actions. They may also be put on preventive suspension.

It also says Ruguia will be released to the city's drug rehabilitation center "in view of his positive drug test."

A police report on the April 27 incident did not mention the beating by task force personnel nor that he Ruguia had tested positive for drugs.

More on that incident here: QC to investigate 'local authorities' caught on video beating man lacking face mask

April 28, 2020 - 10:26pm

A 72-year-old Person Deprived of Liberty at the Correctional Institution for Women-Mandaluyong who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on Monday, the Bureau of Corrections says Tuesday.

She was the first confirmed COVID-19 case at the correctional facility and had been hospitalized on April 13 "after experiencing pneumonia symptoms," BuCor says.

"It can be recalled that her admission to the hospital triggered the contact tracing and isolation of those PDL that had contact with her days before she was brought to the hospital," BuCor also says.

Of 130 PDLs tested, 47 have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

A CIW PDL who had been admitted to East Avenue Medical Center on April 13 and who died on April 21 has also been confirmed to have had COVID-19. The results of the test, done on April 14, were only released on Monday.

April 27, 2020 - 2:59pm

Two new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Lipa City on Monday even as the total recoveries jumped to five out of the 26 confirmed cases so far, the Lipa City government said.

Mayor Eric Africa announced that two male patients, ages 78 and 27 years old, tested positive for the virus, raising the city’s total infections to 26 – the most in Batangas province. The Filipino Connection

April 26, 2020 - 3:10pm

Community farms could be a "short cut" to meeting the country's food needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Philippines says, citing community farming projects that the Catholic Church in the Philippines is helping.

"The social amelioration program is not efficiently solving our food security problem however we see it as a necessary short-cut solution," Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines says

"Thus we at NASSA/Caritas Philippines strongly urge our government, especially the Department of Agriculture to start mobilizing farmers at the community level while we still have time."

The Department of Agriculture has said urban and community farming is among its strategies toward food security during the pandemic.

Bagaforo says "our community farms are helping deliver fresh vegetables to families severely affected by work suspension in Iligan, Bayombong and Camarines Sur, while a local farmers' cooperative supported by the diocese of Libmanan in Camarines Norte and the Gratia Plena program of the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija are supplying thousands of sacks of commercial and organic rice to Luzon provinces."

Backyard gardening programs in Iloilo, Bukidnon, Quezon, Leyte, the Samar provinces, Capiz, Oriental Mindoro and Zambales have also helped ensure food security for farming families, he says.

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