By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang told businesses allowed to operate under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to stay closed if they cannot provide a shuttle for their employees as public transport remains suspended for the rest of the month.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after it was announced that more businesses will be allowed to reopen in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City during the MECQ period from May 16 to 31.
Under the MECQ, only shuttles and personal vehicles of residents are allowed to ply the streets.
In his Thursday press briefing, Roque said businesses should provide shuttles for their workers as he reminded them that public transportation is still suspended during the MECQ period.
“Kung hindi po kaya talaga ng kumpanya na magbigay ng shuttle o kung walang sasakyan yung kanilang mga empleyado, eh, ‘wag na po muna magbukas (If the company cannot provide a shuttle or their employees don’t have their own vehicles, then do not open for now),” he said.
Roque added that the government cannot risk a second wave of COVID-19 infections just to restart the economy.
“It’s a policy decision po. We want to restart the economy but not at the expense of having a second wave,” he said.
Manufacturing businesses are partially allowed to open under the MECQ. However, public transportation is still suspended. Citizens of areas under the MECQ, however, can use their personal vehicles like cars, bikes, motorcycles, and even e-scooters.
IATF-issued IDs still valid
Meanwhile, Roque said the ID cards issued by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to members of the media are still valid despite allowing the full operations of the industry under the MECQ.
“Wala pong epekto itong transition to modified ECQ sa mga IDs na naissue na po (The transition to the modified ECQ has no effect to the IDs already issued). They remain valid,” he said.
“[However], ine-enganyo natin sila na ang general rule pa din kung pupwede ang work from home, mag work from home po tayo (we still encourage the media to work from home if possible),” he added.