As May 15 fast approaches, the decision to whether lift the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and transition to a general community quarantine (GCQ) will be science-based, the Palace maintains.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr., in a virtual press briefing in Malacañang on May 11, stressed that the pronouncement on whether to retain ECQ or move to GCQ will again be based on science and the country’s capacity to provide care for those who will get sick.
“The decision whether or not we will shift from ECQ to GCQ is precisely the issue of: can we provide critical care to those who might get sick,” said Secretary Roque
The Palace official said that the current trend is showing that the Philippines still has the capacity to take in more critical patients, which is why some areas have already been placed under the GCQ. However, he cautioned that we still have to be careful.
Secretary Roque pointed out that whether ECQ or GCQ, it is still a community quarantine and that life will not be back to normal unless a cure or a vaccine is available.
“Whether be it ECQ, GCQ, may CQ pa rin po yan. We are still under community quarantine. Nasa kamay po natin kung anong mangyayari, kung tataas o bababa ang kaso ng COVID-19,” said Secretary Roque.
In light of the recent meeting of Metro Manila mayors, the Palace and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Spokesperson said that the IATF will listen to the mayors’ suggestions on the possible lifting or retention of the ECQ in the NCR.
Secretary Roque added that “mayors are the primary implementers in their localized areas of the community quarantine.”
However, the President’s spokesman asked the people to trust that the IATF will make the right recommendation on this matter. “We have experts, we have epidemiologists, we have statisticians, we’re working with academicians. This will be a reason decision, a scientific decision, and it is not based on politics or any other consideration,” said Secretary Roque.
In the same media briefing, Sec. Roque disclosed the recommendations approved in the 34th IATF meeting. One of these is the adoption of the Basic Education Learning Community Plan of the Department of Education (DepEd), which states that for basic education, classes will open on August 24, 2020 and end on April 30, 2021.
The DepEd also recommended that face-to-face classes will not be allowed earlier than August 24, and that face-to-face, distance learning, homeschooling and other learning delivery options will be considered. It was also recommended that other curricular activities like school fairs, sports and other school competitions be cancelled.
The IATF also adopted the National Greening Program and National Forest Protection Program recommendations of the Department of Environment and National Resources. Said programs will be part of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program that will create livelihood opportunities in the provinces. ### OPS-PCOO