IATF to simplify do’s and don’ts for community quarantine — Roque

Published March 11, 2021, 5:31 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government pandemic task force is inclined to simplify the do’s and don’ts in community quarantine classifications amid complaints of the confusing revised rules.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has recognized the need to clarify the quarantine protocols after amendments were made to accommodate the safe reopening of the economy.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte earlier reportedly claimed that the country’s existing quarantine classifications have become obsolete and were no longer helpful following the revisions made. Citing an example, the mayor said ever since changes were introduced in general community quarantine (GCQ), people no longer adhere to such quarantine classification in its purest form.

Roque agreed that Belmonte’s statement was “very sound” and promised to find a “middle ground” on the matter.

“While we appreciate the suggestion of Mayor Joy Belmonte, perhaps what we will do in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is to simplify the do’s and don’ts for the different regimes as we further reopen the economy,” he said during a televised press briefing Thursday, March 11.

“Naiintindihan ko po iyon kasi iyong mga GCQ, nabago na po lalung-lalo na sa Metro Manila (I understand that because GCQ has changed especially in Metro Manila) also by way of accommodating the mayors na gusto pa rin nilang GCQ although they stand committed to reopen the economy. So, we’ll work on that po and we’ll find a middle ground somewhere,” he said.

The country is largely under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive of the four lockdowns implemented by the government, for the month of March. Metro Manila and nine other areas remained on the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) this month.

The government imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March 2020 and started relaxing the movement restrictions around June to revitalize economic growth and livelihood. Restrictions on business operations, travel, and public transportation, have been gradually eased after the lockdown weakened the economy and caused unemployment and hunger.

The IATF makes the policy recommendations on pandemic response, which are then either approved or rejected by President Duterte.

Roque explained that the government implements the community quarantine restrictions to ensure public health as the coronavirus continued to pose a threat.

“From the point of view of the IATF, we need to tell the people that, number one, that the pandemic is still ongoing, that there is still a crisis and that there is still need of a quarantine because this is a pandemic,” he said.

“There is a psychological benefit to it that people will be reminded that they still have to be very careful because a pandemic is ongoing,” he added.

Recently, the President thumbed down the proposal to place the entire country under the most relaxed quarantine level. Duterte said he wanted to see massive vaccination before considering the possibility of fully reopening the economy.