“It’s very difficult for me to actually speculate because as spokesperson, I have to wait for the collegiate body to decide, which is different, of course, when we’re talking about General (Carlito) Galvez who’s chief implementer and Secretary (Eduardo) Año who is DILG secretary, because more or less they give the recommendation to the IATF,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday.
Presidential Photo/Yancy Lim
Roque sees Metro transitioning to GCQ
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Even as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to formally issue a recommendation, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said there is an inclination to transition to the general community quarantine (GCQ) category for Metro Manila.

“It’s very difficult for me to actually speculate because as spokesperson, I have to wait for the collegiate body to decide, which is different, of course, when we’re talking about General (Carlito) Galvez who’s chief implementer and Secretary (Eduardo) Año who is DILG secretary, because more or less they give the recommendation to the IATF,” Roque said yesterday.

“But I can quote both of them, that chances are we will in fact be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) secretary,” he added.

Roque’s statement came a day after 17 Metro Manila mayors agreed on Tuesday to place the region under GCQ with the option to place under lockdown certain barangays or areas with clustering of positive coronavirus disease 2019 cases.

Malacañang is expected to announce today the government's decision on Metro Manila and other areas that are still under strict community quarantine, Roque said.

The IATF was scheduled to have a meeting yesterday and recommend the next move for the country in the next weeks in the fight against COVID-19.

In an interview with ANC, Roque said the government will allow the resumption of operations of 10 to 15 percent public transportation facilities at 50 percent capacity.

Roque said employers should provide shuttle service for their employees.

“That is why it’s important that employers, including government, although everyone will go back to work, still finalize their scheme whereby only 50 percent will actually work on sites and the rest can work from home,” he said.

“So, we are appealing, in fact, to both private and the public sector to ensure this 50-50 workforce. It doesn’t mean that work stops because I think by now we’re used to working at home, you’re broadcasting from home, I’m interviewing from home, it can be done,” Roque added.

Duterte has placed Cebu City and Mandaue under enhanced community quarantine from May 16 to 31, while Metro Manila, Pampanga, Bulacan, Angeles City, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales and Laguna are under modifiied ECQ.

The rest of the country is under GCQ.

Roque said the transition to GCQ is where the population will return to somewhat normal but still be subjected to observation of minimum health standards such as wearing of masks, social distancing, proper hygiene and coughing etiquette.

Roque said the people will still have no immunity from the disease due to the lack of vaccine here and around the globe.

He reminded the public that persons below 21 years old and senior citizens are still prohibited from going out of their homes.

Duterte’s decision

Año said yesterday that President Duterte will decide before the weekend whether to further relax lockdown measures in Metro Manila.

Año and other members of the IATF would submit their recommendations to Duterte whether to extend the MECQ in Metro Manila or transition to GCQ.

While quarantine measures may be relaxed by next week, Año reminded citizens that minimum health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks would still be observed.

A quarantine pass, which is a requirement for resident to go out of their houses during the lockdown, is no longer needed during the GCQ as more people are allowed to return for work.

Under GCQ, mayors are authorized to impose zoning or selected lockdown of barangays, streets and even subdivisions with high number of COVID-19 infections.

Año said this setup is ideal as there is no longer a need to place an entire city or municipality under lockdown.

Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion hopes Metro Manila would be moving to a GCQ by June 1.

“I am confident we are going toward GCQ,” Concepcion said during an online press conference yesterday, noting things are getting better.

“There is no option but to open the economy or else jobs will be lost. We have to bring them back to the economy so they can earn. Social amelioration, the Philippines cannot do that every month… We have to start the economy and that is the only way,” Concepcion said. Emmanuel Tupas, Elizabeth Marcelo, Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Louella Desiderio

GCQ IATF
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