With the danger posed by the new coronavirus strains, President Duterte has threatened to impose a stricter lockdown if there will be a resurgence of infections in the country.
Addressing the nation, the President said he personally does not want to further tighten movement curbs but he would be forced to implement such measure to ensure public health and prevent virus spread.
“If I am strict at kung may improvement sa ngayon sa larangan ng ating mga syudad (If I am strict and if there’s an improvement now in our localities) there’s a sharp drop of cases, it’s because they followed the protocols. Kasi kapag hindi, mapipilitan again ako na (because if not, I will be forced) to impose lockdown and everything at mag-strikto ang gobyerno (the government will be strict),” he said during a taped address aired on government television Tuesday, May 18.
“If you, hindi ninyo sumusunod at may resurgence naman plus the new variants ay mapipilitan talaga ako mag-impose ng lockdown maybe stricter this time because hindi natin alam kung anong variants yan (If you don’t follow and there’s a resurgence plus the new variants, I will be compelled to impose a lockdown maybe stricter this time because we don’t know these variants),” he said.
Duterte explained that he would listen to the recommendation of the government task force that includes health experts, on curbing the spread of the virus.
“Pag sinabi nila na lockdown (If they say there must be a lockdown), it’s not because I want to do it. Ayaw ko. Sabihin ko under other circumstances, ayaw ko (I don’t want it since) it will work hardships on the people but these things are for your own good,” he said.
With the rise of new COVID strains, Duterte appealed anew to the public be like “boy scouts” and follow health protocols to avoid getting infected. He particularly asked people who refuse to get vaccinated not to leave their houses to prevent virus spread.
Duterte said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to strictly enforce the quarantine rules to safeguard public health. “Ang pag-asa natin (Our hope) is really the obedience parang boy scout,” he said.
Earlier, Duterte said the country must “prepare for the worst” in the face of the new coronavirus strain. He said the government must continue to calibrate its preparations against the pandemic, particularly enhancing health facilities.
The National Capital Region Plus has reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021. The group composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal was previously placed under a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11, and followed by modified ECQ from April 12 to May 14 to curb the rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
Other places under GCQ are Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.
Places under the stricter MECQ are Santiago City, Isabela; Quirino; Ifugao, and Zamboanga City.
The rest of the country stayed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of the month.
As of May 17, the country’s cases of coronavirus have soared to more than 1.1 million. Of this number, 54,235 are active cases. The country’s death toll has reached 19,262.