PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, May 29, defended the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to ease quarantine protocols despite the continuous increase in the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.
He said the President considered the people’s right to earn a living. Besides, he said the government could not afford to provide cash assistance to the 23 million low-income families
“Binalanse po natin ang karapatan ng mga mamamayan na magkaroon ng kabuhayan,” Roque said.
“Hindi rin po natin kakayaning bigyan ng ayuda ang lahat ng hindi nakakapagtrabaho sa mas mahabang panahon,” he added.
Duterte announced Thursday evening that Metro Manila (National Capital Region), Davao City, Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4-A) and the provinces of Albay and Pangasinan would be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) from June 1 to June 15.
Cebu City, which has been tagged as the second epicenter of the (Covid-19) epidemic in the country next to Metro Manila, as well as Mandaue City will shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ends on May 31.
Duterte made the announcement several hours after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 539 new infections, the highest number in the country’s epidemic curve.
Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, however, explained that the increase was due to the department’s increased capability to validate cases.
Under GCQ, more business establishments will be allowed to resume operations at a limited capacity. Guidelines for MGCQ have yet to be released.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations and Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield, said workers of businesses allowed to re-opened will be allowed to travel and pass through checkpoints using only their company IDs or certificate of employment.
He said non-workers, especially those below 21 years old and older than 59 years old, are considered unauthorized persons outside residence and should stay at home except when they need to buy essentials.
The PNP also said they will limit the conduct of stationary checkpoints and will shift to the conduct of mobile checkpoints to randomly check on vehicles on the streets. (SunStar Philippines)