By FRED M. LOBO
President Duterte has given the go-signal for the reopening of the economy through a modified quaran tine effective May 1.
“We will go for a modified quarantine, ” he declared.
Likewise, the President ordered the filing of administrative and criminal charges against local and national officials involved in any irregularities related to thedistribution of government assistance placed at some P300 bilion.
No thieves and negligent officials under COVID-19 aid.
Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF),through Resolution No.29 approved by the President, immediately downgraded
the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status of nine provinces to general community quarantine (GCQ)
Okay to reopen safe businesses now, ITF said.
Under GCQ are Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay and Catanduanes in Luzon; Antique, Aklan and Capiz in Panay in the Visayas; and Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro in Mindanao.
Malacanang said Metro Manila, Central Luzon except Aurora province, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Benguet including Baguio City, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao will remain under ECQ until May 15, with only essential businesses and services allowed.
In provinces that revert to GCQ, public transportation will be allowed but in reduced capacity plus select establishments ,subject to minimum health standards.
“Low risk areas may no longer be placed under quarantine after May 15. Moderate risk areas will remain under GCQ. The government will decide whether they will remain under GCQ,” Roque explained.
“Thank you for heeding the warnings of the government and allowing yourself to be under quarantine to protect yourselves and other people,” Duterte said, noting the 80 percent pubic acceptance of his anti- COVID outbreak measures.
“Soon… we might open partially… construction workers and things like that,” the President said in a public address.
“We will go for a modified (quarantine). If we allow crowding in the LRT (Light Rail Transit), the problem won’t end. It will never end and it will bring us down and down,” he added.
The safety of passengers and workers must be ensured, he said.
Duterte also directed the police to provide free rides to children and women, especially the elderly.
“ All the elderly, especially those carrying infants, women who are walking at night… they must be provided with transportation and that is the transportation of government,” he ordered.
Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon.Lopez said almost all necesary and safe business activities and industries would be gradualy allowed to resume operations.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua added:
“We should be able to flatten the curve ..(but) while strengthening the capacity of the health sector, there is a need to balance health and the economy.”
IATF Head Carlito Galvez, Health Sec Duque and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año assured that government measures will likely work well and conditions improve.
So let’s hope and pray that things end well. COVID away!