President Duterte on Monday night approved the recommendation of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 to place Bacolod City in Western Visayas (Region 6) and Lanao del Sur province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from September 8 to 30.
NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. endorsed the recommendation to Duterte, citing the increasing number of daily infections being recorded in the two areas which were initially placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Duterte's order was formalized through the release of IATF Resolution 69-A by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
"Sir, when we visited Iligan City and also Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, and also part of Region 10, we met with the different LGUs (local government units). Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. recommended that he be placed on MECQ," Galvez told Duterte during the latter's public address.
Galvez said he raised Adiong's concern to NTF vice chairperson and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano, who agreed with the proposal.
"We recommended to the IATF the upgrading of Lanao del Sur to MECQ considering that it is contiguous to Iligan City and its cases are also rising up," he added.
Iligan City, which is adjacent to Lanao del Sur, is the only area placed under MECQ until September 30. As of Monday, it has recorded a total of 395 cases based on DOH data.
According to DOH, Lanao del Sur recorded 381 cases so far.
Of these, 167 cases were listed in August alone, and most of them were due to local transmission.
For the month of September, Adiong said that 11 cases have so far been reported.
Meanwhile, Galvez said the IATF, headed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia recommended to him that the city be placed under MECQ since its cases are already higher than Iligan City.
"The cases of Bacolod City are much higher than Iligan City which is under MECQ. We will recommend also Bacolod city be placed under MECQ," Galvez told Duterte.
According to Duque, there came a point when Bacolod City logged 462 new cases in a span of four days, or an average of 115.5 cases per day.
As of Monday, Bacolod City listed a total of 2,224 cases based on DOH data.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has been deployed in Bacolod to oversee the city's COVID-19 response and help the local government to harmonize its efforts.