A fully-armed police officer patrols a residential area in Barangay Mauway in Mandaluyong CIty as the barangay is placed under "total lockdown" from May 11-13, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
'Don't waste quarantine sacrifices': Palace tells public to cooperate during GCQ
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - May 31, 2020 - 2:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — As quarantine restrictions are eased nationwide Monday, Malacañang is reminding the public to cooperate with authorities as it assured them that measures are in place to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Duterte administration has adopted a "whole-of-nation approach" in addressing the pandemic and has implemented interventions to comply with minimum health standards and to ensure the safety of Filipinos.

"The government cannot fight COVID-19 alone. We need the concerted effort of everyone. The sacrifices of our people in the past 70 or so days are laudable and we must not put these to naught. It may be difficult for some, especially those who will physically report, but we live in extraordinary times and situation," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Sunday.

READ: With 'fresh' COVID-19 reporting protocol, DOH 'late' again in case update

"As more sectors and industries begin to operate, let us continue cooperating with authorities in enforcing quarantine protocols," he added.

Metro Manila, home to more than 12 million people and classified as moderate-to-high risk area, will be downgraded from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1 as the government seeks to gradually reopens the economy while fighting the virus.

The government did not say until when the capital region would remain under the quarantine scenario. Also to be placed under GCQ are moderate-risk areas namely Cagayan, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon regions, Baguio City, and the provinces of Pangasinan and Albay in Luzon; Central Visayas and Iloilo City in the Visayas; and the cities of Zamboanga and Davao in Mindanao. These areas will be under GCQ until June 15.

Cebu City, which has been classified as a high-risk area, will also shift from the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the modified enhanced community quarantine until June 15.

The rest of the country will be under the most lenient modified general community quarantine for 15 days. Despite the easing, lockdowns may still be imposed on villages or barangays with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

READ: Too soon for GCQ in 'high-risk' areas like Metro Manila — UP researchers

Under ECQ, only essential industries like food production and healthcare can operate and all forms of public transportation are suspended. Malls are allowed to reopen and some restrictions in private transportation are relaxed in areas that shifted to MECQ.

More industries and some forms of mass transportation are permitted to resume operations in GCQ areas.

Restrictions are eased further in MGCQ areas, where all persons are allowed outside their houses and public gatherings are permitted as long as they only fill up to half of the capacity of the venue and comply with health standards. 

Roque said the government has issued guidelines on workplaces, employers, and workers to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which has so far infected more than 16,000 people in the Philippines.

"The coronavirus disease 2019, as we have said, in numerous occasions, is an invisible enemy and the world, including the Philippines, has witnessed its adverse impacts across all sectors, as there is still no miracle cure or vaccine for this dreadful virus," the Palace spokesman said.

Roque called on the public to "take care of each other" by wearing face masks or face shields, maintaining safe physical distancing, staying at home and avoiding crowded places.  

"Only then we can heal and rise as one," he said. 

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