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Alert Level 3 in 5 provinces, 9 cities from January 9

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Alert Level 3 in 5 provinces, 9 cities from January 9
Cops man a checkpoint on the border of Calumpit in Bulacan and Apalit in Pampanga on August 2, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — More areas will be placed under the stricter Alert Level 3 from Sunday, January 9, as the Philippines contends with a rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 infections.

The government's pandemic task force approved the recommendation of its data analytics group to impose tighter restrictions on 14 areas, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced Thursday.

The following areas will be under Alert Level 3 from January 9 to 15:

Provinces

  • Bataan
  • Batangas
  • Cagayan
  • Pampanga 
  • Zambales

Cities

  • Angeles City
  • Baguio City
  • Dagupan City
  • Iloilo City
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Lucena City
  • Naga City
  • Olongapo City
  • Santiago City

Businesses are allowed to operate at 30% indoor capacity and 50% outdoor capacity in areas under Alert Level 3. Buses, jeepneys and other forms of public transportation operate at 70% capacity.

RELATED: A guide to the COVID-19 alert levels system

Nograles, also the spokesman of the government's pandemic task force, said Lapu-Lapu City immediately needs beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The alert levels in other areas will be retained.

Nograles said the healthcare utilization rate metric for determining alert level classifications would be refined to better reflect available healthcare workers. The government pandemic task force's data analytics group, Nograles said, would come up with new metrics that consider healthcare workers as an indicator.

Other areas that are now under Alert Level 3 are Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

Limited movements for unvaccinated people

President Rodrigo Duterte cited the need to strictly enforce minimum health standards and to limit the movements of unvaccinated persons.

"So in the absence of a law, the president is called upon to act and because it is a national emergency, it is my position that we can restrain...I'm now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put," Duterte said in a pre-recorded message.  

"And if he refuses, he goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe wherever he goes, he can be restrained. And if he refuses, then the barangay captain being a person in authority is empowered now to arrest the recalcitrant persons - that is in addition to the police power, the agents of a person in authority," he added.

Duterte said those who oppose his directive are free to file cases.

"I'd be happy to answer," Duterte said.

RELATED: No basis to arrest unvaccinated outside their homes, law expert says
 
"Being the president, ultimately I am responsible for the safety and well-being of every Filipino and that is why my orders are to restrain them. They won't be arrested immediately. We will appeal to them, sir you are not vaccinated, then you put everybody in jeopardy. You go out, you get contaminated, you bring the contamination to your family, to your house," he added.

Duterte last year threatened to arrest unvaccinated people and to make vaccination mandatory but there have been no moves in Congress for a law to do that. The Palace said in late 2021 that there seemed to be no need to do so because more people were willing to be vaccinated than earlier in the year.

More than 50 million Filipinos were vaccinated against COVID-19 last year, or about 45.85% of the population. 

RELATED: No moves yet to mandate vaccination as Palace says 'akyat bahay' jabs just a joke

ALERT LEVEL 3

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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