‘Trust PRRD to make the right decision’, Palace urges

Published April 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

 

By Genalyn Kabiling

Trust President Duterte to make the “right decision” on whether to extend or modify the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon beyond April 30, Malacañang said Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with some members of the  Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 13, 2020. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 13, 2020. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)

“Magtiwala po tayo dahil binigyan naman natin ng mandato si Presidente na siyang maging lider natin sa mga panahong krisis na ito. Magtiwala po tayo na gagawin niya iyong tamang desisyon (Let us trust the President because we gave him the mandate to be our leader in this time of crisis. Let us trust that he will make the right decision),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said over government radio.

The Luzon-wide lockdown, enforced by the national government since March 17 to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will expire at the end of the month.

Roque said that he could not say when the President will make his decision on post-April 30 scenario. He said after Duterte’s meeting with the top government officials and health experts earlier this week that the President mentioned he may announce his decision between “now and April 30.”

“Kasi kung ang desisyon niya ay magkaroon ng relaxation, eh kapag in-announce niya ahead of April 30 eh baka lumabas na iyong mga tao sa lansangan muli. So hindi ko po masabi kung kailan talaga (Because if he decides on the relaxation of quarantine, if he announces it ahead of April 30, people might go out in the streets again so I really can’t say when his decision will come),” he said.

The President’s former special assistant and now Senator Christopher Go earlier said Duterte will study the options and may decide on the Luzon-wide quarantine on Thursday.

Last Monday, the President met with several Cabinet members, Congress leaders and health experts to tackle the proposed post-April 30 government plan to address the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meeting, the President expressed concern about the possible death toll and other consequences if he extends, relaxes or lifts the quarantine in Luzon. “How many people will die if ECQ is lifted, modified or retained?” Roque said, quoting the President.

Duterte also asked about the possibility of a “second wave” of the coronavirus outbreak if the ECQ is relaxed or lifted. “If people are allowed to go out of their homes is there a danger for the disease to spike anew or is this just really round one of COVID?” he asked.

Health experts have recommended to the President the implementation of a modified quarantine depending on the extent of COVID-19 infection in an area.

Roque said the health experts suggested retaining the strict quarantine in some parts of Luzon that have a high number of COVID-19 cases. Quarantine measures in areas with few or no infections, could be relaxed, according to the experts.

“Wala pong nagrekomenda sa Presidente na magkaroon ng total lockdown. At wala rin pong nagrekomenda na ‘as is, where is’ dahil ang paninindigan ng mga eksperto iyong desisyon kung ipagpapatuloy, iri-relax o ili-lift ay dapat depende po iyan doon sa numero ng mga COVID-19 cases sa iba’t-ibang lugar “No one recommended to the President to have a total lockdown. No one recommended the ‘as is, where is’ situation because the experts believe the decision to maintain, relax or lift the quarantine will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases in various places),” Roque said.

“At ang sinabi naman po ng mga eksperto, ang outbreak ay nasa Metro Manila, Calabarzon, mga bahagi ng Bulacan, Cebu City at Davao City (The experts said the “hotspots” in the outbreak include Metro Manila, CALABARZON, parts of Bulacan, Cebu City and Davao City),” he added.

Roque said the President is currently studying the proposed options on the next course of action and will eventually make his decision.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the options being considered by members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) include a modified quarantine that allows resumption of certain businesses and the public transportation system, subject to physical distancing protocols.

 
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