Davao City eases quarantine restrictions

Photo by Macky Lim

THE City Government of Davao will lift the implementation of the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and the food and medicine pass starting on Monday, August 3.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio made the announcement on Friday, July 31, after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said that the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in Davao City is extended until August 15. This is the second time the city's MGCQ status was extended since it was first implemented on July 1.

Duterte-Carpio said the city will be releasing an official Executive Order (EO) on Monday, providing more comprehensive amendments to the city's revised guidelines and policies under MGCQ.

"I-lift nato ang FM pass ug curfew. Ngano? (Why are we lifting the implementation of the FM pass and curfew?) It’s because we want people to self-regulate,” Duterte-Carpio said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

With the lifting of the use of FM pass, the mayor said Sunday activities such as religious masses and other worship activities are now allowed.

"We want people to self-regulate. Meaning, kahibalo sila nga dunay quarantine, kahibalo sila nga dunay stay-at-home, pero wala nata'y regulation to make sure nga they stay at home (This means that they understand we are still in a state of quarantine and there is still the need to stay at home)," she said.

She added, "We want people to understand nga kinahanglan mag-gikan na sa ilaha na karon. Mag-practice na sila. Because remember, wala gihapo'y bakuna, tambal, and this will be here, ang Covid-19, until wala ta kahibalo hangtud kanus-a (We want people to understand that they should practice and observe health measures because there is still no vaccine or medicine against Covid-19).”

The mayor said the city “cannot afford” another lockdown, which is still possible if Covid-19 cases continue to increase and difficult to control.

“Nobody wants to go back to GCQ (general community quarantine), MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), and ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” she said

Despite easing some restrictions, the mayor reminded the public to observe health measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We want our city to remain open despite that there is a pandemic. Ang key dinha is mga tao (The key there is the people)," she said, adding that the public has an important role in preventing the spread of the disease.

Among these health measures are the proper wearing of face masks, observing two-meter physical distancing, regular handwashing and disinfection of surfaces.

Employers, she said, are also reminded to continue implementing health protocols within the workplace.

Vulnerable sectors such as children, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, are reminded to stay at home and only go out for exercise, purchase necessary items and other emergency purposes.

Despite this, Duterte-Carpio reminded residents to keep their FM pass just in case the city will revert to a stricter quarantine status.

Meanwhile, the mayor said the city is also planning to lift the liquor ban and resume the operations of the Roxas Night Market.

However, she said this will still depend on the Covid-19 situation and the people's behavior in responding to the imposed health safety measures.

"Kung maka self-regulate na ta ug kon ma-maintain nato ang number sa cases nga manageable by August 30 (If people will be able to practice self-regulation and Covid-19 situation in the city remains as manageable by August 30), we will lift the liquor ban and we will resume the Roxas Night Market," Duterte-Carpio said.

Until then, the mayor said the 24-hour ban on the selling of liquor and drinking in public places is still in effect.

Aside from Davao City, other provinces in Davao Region such as Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao City are under MGCQ.

According to the July 30 data of the Department of Health (DOH), Davao Region has now a total of 1,273 confirmed cases, wherein 727 already recovered, 498 are still recovering and 48 already died.

Davao City remains to be the Covid-19 hotspot in the entire region with 858 cases. Of the 856 cases, 562 already recovered, 255 are still recovering and 39 already died.


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