The decision on whether to lift, maintain or make the community quarantine more restricted in the Philippines will be in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will let Duterte decide the next steps to contain the spread of COVID-19 while balancing public health and the economy, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Saturday, during a television interview.
“Meron na pong rekomendasyon. Ang rekomendasyon bahala na po si Presidente,” Roque said.
“Nakikita natin na ang numero po medyo hindi bumababa sa Metro Manila at sa Cebu City. Pero kung anong gagawin, iniwan na po kay Presidente,” he said.
Malacanang said Metro Manila and other areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) may transition to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), return to modified enhanced community quarantine, or remain under GCQ.
“Pero kahit anong option po diyan, iniwan na po kay Presidente ang desisyon,” Roque said.
Roque said the President will announce his decision on Monday, June 15— the same day when the GCQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Pangasinan, Zamboanga City and Davao City expires.
Roque, however, expressed doubt that Metro Manila and Cebu City will shift to a more relaxed MGCQ.
“Tama po kasi ‘pag nag MGCQ, ‘yung public gatherings up to 50% papayagan na. Ang transportasyon 50 to 100 [%] na at pati ‘yung sinehan at pagsimba ay papayagan na at 50% capacity,” he said.
“Pero ‘yung numero ng Metro Manila at Cebu ay parang hindi pa akma na magbukas nang ganyan. Pero bahala nga po ang Presidente kasi binabalanse natin ang ekonomiya at sapat naman ang kakayahin magbigay ng medical doon sa magkakasakit ng critical, ‘yung critical care capacity natin,” he added.
“It’s a gamble po na hinayaan natin ang Presidente na magdesisyon,” Roque said.
Roque said while public health is important, it is equally important to consider that Metro Manila’s staying under quarantine is costly for the economy.
Siyempre po ganu’n palagi ang debate… pero kasama sa debate… ang may sakit karamihan ay mild o ‘di naman kaya ay asymptomatic.
“Gaya ng aking sinabi ‘yan po ay isang maingat na pagtimbang sa ekonomiya at kalusugan,” Roque said.
He stressed that “no one can predict how the President decides.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Eduardo Año on Friday said the National Capital Region will most likely remain under GCQ after June 15.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana meanwhile on Friday said if he would have his way, Metro Manila would be under a more relaxed MGCQ./Stacy Ang