For the fifth time, President Rodrigo Duterte extended the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila for another month or until November 30, the longest-running lockdown in the world.
Duterte made the announcement late Monday night in Davao City, saying the move was to protect the people from getting infected.
The National Capital Region, the country’s center of economy, culture and education, was first put under GCQ on June 1 up to June 15 but was extended from June 15 to July 1 and renewed again the extension on August 1 to August 15.
Duterte's decision comes after the country saw a surge in new coronavirus cases from mid-July to August.
To further prevent the spread of coronavirus 2019, the President extended the GCQ from August 15 until August 30.
On the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Metro Manila remained GCQ until September 30 and once more extended until October 30.
In a taped speech aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said GCQ would remain in effect in the metropolis until Nov. 30 which will take the country’s capital of almost 14 million residents to eight-and-a-half months of confinement.
“We are not here to make your life miserable or sad. We are here to make your life comfortable and to make you happy,” Duterte said.
“What’s the point of you talking and talking? So what’s the point of working these figures if it (sic) does not do anything good? But if you believe, this is for your own good,” he added.
However, the GCQ that will be implemented starting November will be less strict than the GCQ implemented from the previous months.
Metro Manila was placed under the strict lockdown March 15 and remained under GCQ until Oct. 31.
Aside from the capital region, also under GCQ until the end of next month are the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur, and the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Iligan.
As of Tuesday, there were 371,630 confirmed cases of COVID019 nationwide, including 328,258 recoveries and 7,039 deaths.
Metro Manila recorded the highest number of COVID 19 with 183,375.
Meanwhile, as the government continues to ease travel restrictions, the Philippine National Police would issue a Travel Pass-through Permit to those traveling to an unrestricted area but pass through a restricted area.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday, Joint Task Force Covid Shield head, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said there would be no requirements needed in getting a TPP.
"Just go to the police station and they would give you a TPP. No need for a medical certificate. No need for prior coordination with the place where you are going," he said.
He said the document would be presented to policemen manning the quarantine control points, or border control checkpoints, to allow them to pass through local government units (LGUs) with 'restricted status'.
Areas under restricted status still require travelers to present a travel authority while areas under unrestricted status allow travelers to enter freely without this document.
“If your destination as well the areas where you will pass through do not require a travel authority, it is fine. You don't need a TPP. But if your destination doesn't require travel authority but you are passing through restricted areas where security is heightened, you need a TPP,” Eleazar said.
The TPP and travel authority are applicable in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and the modified GCQ.
But he said the TPP did not apply in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) earlier lifted travel restrictions for all local travels to revive the economy which was badly affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, also vice chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, has been supportive of gradual reopening of the economy, saying there should be a proper balance between reviving the economy and the need to continuously protect the Filipino people from the COVID-19.
Eleazar, however, said while the IATF had eased travel restrictions, the LGUs which would not require a travel authority, were still given the authority to implement reasonable health safety protocols both for authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) and non-APORs that include triage and quarantine procedures.
“We still have LGUs that require a travel authority. Let us take the time to know the policy of our
destination towns or cities. Let's be updated on the situation there as well as the areas where we would pass through,” he said. With PNA