Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be placed under the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 (Monday) to April 4 (Sunday) to arrest the increase in daily cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
President Rodrigo Duterte approved that measure as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) based on Resolution No. 144. The development came after new Covid-19 cases on Sunday reached 7,757, a bit lower compared to the 7,999 logged on Saturday. The 7,999 cases logged on Sunday is the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country since the government started logging daily virus cases.
As daily Covid-19 cases reached new highs, the Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday affirmed the national government’s commitment to provide all Filipinos equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines following the prioritization criteria and list approved by the IATF.
The agency issued a statement in response to an unofficial draft of a DOH Administrative Order that have circulated online, outlining select sections of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of Republic Act 11525, or the Covid-19 Vaccination Law, being prepared.
“The development of the IRR is guided by the principles of equal respect, national equity and legitimacy, found in the WHO SAGE (World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) Values Framework,” the DOH stated.
“Any provisions that may be perceived to discriminate against any sector of the population from accessing Covid-19 vaccines is not considered in any policy, guideline, protocol that shall be issued by this government,” it added.
To date, the DOH and other government agencies comprising the vaccine cluster of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 are still in the process of reconciling the proposed provisions with other existing laws and guidelines.
Stressing that the contents of the draft IRR were based on recommendations of different stakeholders, the DOH said the national government commits to honor the multiparty agreement among the DOH, NTF, vaccine manufacturers, and other procuring entities like private companies and local government units.
“All comments and recommendations from different stakeholders are still welcome until the finalization and approval of the IRR,” it added.