Duterte teases ‘modified quarantine’ after May 15

The Philippines could soon shift to a “modified quarantine” mode amid the raging worldwide coronavirus pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte told the nation Monday in a televised address.

Some sectors such as construction may be allowed to bring back their workers under such a setup, but Duterte asked the public to wait for the government to issue specific guidelines to bring the country gradually out of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and most provinces.

This was even as the President thanked Filipinos for heeding the measures enforced during the lockdown that he extended last week to May 15, giving his Cabinet enough time to ensure the balance between safety from the deadly COVID-19 disease and restarting the economy.

Duterte also touched on the following after meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force:

• No more peace talks would be held with the New People’s Army-Communist Party of the Philippines, after the President lamented attacks on soldiers delivering aid amid the lockdown.

• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were authorized to employ “as many as may be required” such as medical technologists to help with mass coronavirus testing.

• The government was acquiring more personal protective equipment (PPE) to distribute to frontliners, as orders for them “will be completed in due time.”

• Duterte encouraged people who have not yet received government aid to complain to their local government units, which would then tell Malacañang.

• The Philippine National Police should provide transportation for the elderly, women, and frontliners and bring them to their areas.

• The President announced the country maintained its BBB+ credit rating.

Duterte did not provide any specifics on how the current ECQ would be modified, as it covers Metro Manila, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecijia, Pampanga, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay and Catanduanes until May 15.

All other low-risk and moderate-risk areas will be under a general community quarantine until mid-May, the President had announced last Friday.

"We might open partially, construction workers things like that. You wait for the… lalabas na po yung modified (quarantine guidelines)," Duterte said in his “Talk to the People.”

"Modified ang quarantine natin so we will allow sectors of society na hindi talaga nagdidikit-dikitan (do not come close together)," he added.

The President also ordered those who would deliver medicines to combat COVID-19 to give them to IATF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, and not to city health offices as most LGUs “don’t have the manpower to handle such things.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque also proposed to roll out mobile clinics to test patients through LGUs, while Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the country remained closed to foreign tourists. 

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , “modified quarantine” , Francisco Duque , COVID-19
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