Malacañang said that the much-awaited reopening of the economy may happen in April as the country is still implementing community quarantine measures.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte said that he wanted the reopening of the economy to take place in a matter of weeks despite the recent spike of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country as people were already getting hungry due to the long lockdown.
In a press briefing, Roque said that the reopening of the economy may happen next month since there is a protocol on quarantine classifications that the government is observicing.
“Ang tinitignan natin ay kung pupuwede na tayo lalong magbukas pa ng ekonomiya pagdating po ng buwan ng Abril (We will see if we can further reopen the economy in April),” he said.
“Alam niyo naman po ang ating classification ay para sa isang buwan… Ngayon po ay kalagitnaan na ng buwan ng Marso (You know that our quarantine classifications are effective for a month. We are just in the Middle of march),” he added.
In a speech in Dumaguete City, President Duterte recognized that the threat of COVID-19 was still present but said he cannot suspend reopening the economy any longer.
“Now this is the devil and the deep blue sea, but I have to reopen the economy,” he said.
“I’ve given a timetable of just weeks. We cannot forever be in the strict protocols because we have to open the economy,” he added.
According to the President, the government is hurrying up the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program because the economy has to be reopened to allow the people to make a living so they can bring food to the table.
In his speech during the arrival of the first batch of CoronaVac shots, President Duterte said that he will order the total reopening of the economy if he sees that the country has already acquired 20 million to 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.