Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday, October 21, denied that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases did not consult with local officials regarding the expansion of the pilot alert level system to control COVID-19 infections.
The alert level system, a granular type of quarantine restriction, was first piloted in the National Capital Region (NCR) but was expanded to provinces outside NCR this week.
“Lilinawin ko lang po. Lahat po nung mga rehiyon at probinsya na magpapatupad ng alert level system kinonsulta po ang mga LGUs (May I clarify. All the regions and provinces that will implement the alert level system have been consulted),” Roque said during a virtual media briefing.
“Yung mga areas na ipatutupad ang alert level system, lahat po iyang lokal na pamahalaan diyan ay nakonsulta (The areas where the alert level system are being implemented, all of those have been consulted),” he reiterated.
The Palace official admitted, though, that they may have not consulted with the entire League of Governors because the pilot alert level system is not being implemented nationwide, but only in selected provinces.
The news came after the League of Provinces of the Philippines called on the IATF to postpone the implementation of the pilot alert level system to November 1 to give them time to draft the implementing rules and guidelines for their constituents.
Under the alert level system, certain areas under Level 3 and lower will be allowed more mobility compared to those under Level 4. Some establishments will be allowed to operate under a 30 percent capacity for indoors and 50 percent al fresco.
Roque said there have been no discussions yet regarding the reported appeal of the League of Provinces of the Philippines.
While the spokesman agreed that there is no conclusion yet to the effectiveness of the alert level system, recent data showed that the “condition” in NCR has been improving.
“Dahilan para ieexpand natin ‘yung pilot at malaman natin (This is reason to expand the pilot to know) with conclusiveness kung talagang mas epektibo nga itong alert level system, ang (if the alert level system is more effective in) granular lockdowns,” Roque said.
Metro Manila has eased into Alert Level 3, as well as Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.
Batangas, Quezon, Lucena City, Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental are under Alert Level 2.
The less stringent restrictions mean that there will be no age limit to who can go outside their homes, although children are still not allowed in indoor establishments.
On Wednesday, October 20, the Philippines logged 3,656 new cases, the lowest since July 13. The positivity rate of 11.6 percent is the lowest since July 18 while ICU bed occupancy rates in the country and NCR are now in the safe zone or below 60 percent.