Boost economic activities by further relaxing restrictions in NCR, Calabarzon – Dominguez
The National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila retained its General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status after the government noted substantial compliance to protocols in slowing down the doubling rate of coronavirus cases, Malacañang disclosed Tuesday night.
Also under GCQ are Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Leyte, Ormoc Southern Leyte,
Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu.
However, Cebu City will remain under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the most stringent form of lockdown, as it became the “hotspot” of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given the sharp surge in infections, President Duterte announced Tuesday night.
The new quarantine classification of places will take place from July 1 to July 15.
MGCQ for NCR, Calabarzon?
But Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government should consider further relaxing the quarantine restrictions in Metro Ma-
nila and Calabarzon to boost economic activities.
He likewise called for limiting future lockdowns at the level of barangays and even companies that record high cases of coronavirus.
Dominguez proposed the shift of the two regions to the Modified GC (MGCQ) “as quickly as possible” during a meeting with President Duterte, citing these areas comprise 67 percent of the country’s economy.
Calabarzon region is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
“We have to face the new reality. The reality today is that the virus is not going to go away. And we will have to live with it for a long period of time. So far, that’s the story, Mr. President. And I really believe we really should begin opening,” Dominguez said in his remarks aired on state television.
“You put NCR, Calabarzon, that is where the economy is based. About 60 percent or 67 percent of our economy is based on that area. That should move more to the MGCQ as quickly as possible because people have to start working,” he added.
Dominguez also made a pitch for the localized lockdowns to limit the impact on the economy.
“For me, we should monitor it on a – maybe on a barangay level and if you know, the cases go up, just close it down. But do it on a place to place. And do it also on a company-to-company basis. So if the company has a big spike, close it down also,” he said
Better shape up, Cebu City folk told
In his televised address, the President approved the extension of the strict quarantine measures in Cebu City after lamenting the failure of the residents to observe health protocols.
He reminded the people of Cebu City to “better shape up” and follow the rules to contain the spread of the infection.
“Ito yung Enhanced Community Quaranatine, ito ‘yung pinakamataas kasi marami na ang taong may infection (The Enhanced Community Quarantine highest form of quarantine because there are many people with infection). As a matter of fact, we know that the hospitals and everything there are having a hard time coping up,” Duterte said.
“Ang enhanced community quarantine, Cebu City. Kayo lang (It’s only you),”
According to the President, some people of Cebu have been “stubborn” after allegedly failing to observe the strict lockdown rules meant to slow down the transmissions. Others allegedly spotted drinking and gambling were also “nonchalant” to the coronavirus threat.
“Ngayon kita mo bakit marami? (Now you know why it has many cases?) Well, one of the reasons really I would say even without consulting the body because you did not follow rules. Hindi ganoon karami ‘yan. You have the highest. Cebu is now the hotspot for COVID. Bakit? Eh wala mo musunod, eh. Marami sa inyo hindi sumunod (Many of you did not follow the rules),” the President said.
“Kaya huwag ninyo akong magalit-galit kayo sa akin (Don’t get angry with me). Look, I am here to run government. I’m not here to stay forever.
As a matter of fact, I am on my last two years. God, you better shape up,”
Duterte said the situation in Cebu City was unlike in Metro Manila and other areas where most residents have obeyed the quarantine rules for their own safety and health.
“Ang Maynila and the rest of the Greater Manila Area medyo… there was a substantial compliance (in Manila and rest of Greater Manila Area). I would not say that there was no violation. There were violations but not in a scale I saw in other places,” he said.
As of June 30, the health department has recorded 37,514 cases of coronavirus in the country with 1,266 deaths and 10,233 recoveries.
The GCQ areas are now fewer compared to the list of places last month after some have graduated to the MGCQ.
These areas that were downgraded to MGCQ are Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Olongapo City, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.
Other places under MGCQ are Abra, Baguio City, Ifugao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Angeles City, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Lucena City, Palawan, and Puerto Princesa City.
Also under MGCQ are Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Naga City, Capiz, loilo, loilo City, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Cebu prov-
ince, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Tacloban City, Western Samar, Zamboanga
City, Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Misami Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao de Oro, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Butuan City, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.
In the report made by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to the President, these MGCQ areas must have “strict local action” on localized community quarantine and zoning as well as strict enforcement of health standards.
The concerned local government units must also scale up health system capacity as well as isolation facility of overseas Filipinos, locally stranded persons and close contacts.
Duque said other areas not mentioned in the list will be classified under the “low-risk” MGCQ.
The Philippines earlier gradually relaxed the lockdown measures in Metro Manila and other areas in a bid to jumpstart the economy.
More businesses have been allowed to reopen while limited operations public transportation are permitted in the community quarantine areas.
Early in the day, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the economic team’s recommendations to “further open up the economy” while ensuring the public health amid the pandemic.
The government plans include more localized quarantine at the community level, strict enforcement of health protocols, optimized use of public transportation, and expanded testing efforts.