The latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Resolution No. 36, approved the guidelines on the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) that will be in effect in the National Capital Region, the province of Laguna, and Cebu City starting May 16.
The IATF likewise issued an amendment to its previous resolution, Resolution No. 35-A, after deliberation of IATF members.
“Nag-isyu ang IATF ng amendment sa Resolution No. 35 na simula Mayo disi-sais, ang mga probinsya, highly urbanized cities at independent component cities na classified as low risk areas ay mapapasailalim pa rin sa general community quarantine (GCQ),” clarified Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr., in his May 14 press briefing in Malacañang.
Secretary Roque likewise mentioned the resolutions of IATF Resolution No. 36. First among these is the approval of the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
“Na-aprubahan din po na ang mga land-based or sea-based OFWs ay papayagan pong umalis para sa abroad. Kinakailangan lang po na magsumite sila at lumagda ng deklarasyon na alam po nila ang risk na kanilang haharapin kung sila po ay pupunta sa kanilang mga trabaho,” said Secretary Roque.
Accordingly, recruitment and placement agencies are now allowed to operate in MECQ and GCQ areas. Government offices and agencies that are involved in the processing of the deployment of papers of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are directed to create “green lanes” to expedite processing of employment papers and deployment of OFWs.
The IATF also supported the recommendation to encourage the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units to directly purchase fresh agri-fishery products and rice from Farmer Cooperatives and Associations for their food packs distribution.
On the opening of classes in higher education institutions (HEIs), the Palace spokesman announced that the IATF adopted the recommendations of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to base class openings on education delivery mode.
“Ibig sabihin po, kung gumagamit ng full online education ay makapagbubukas po sila kahit anong oras. Ang Higher Education Institutions na gumagamit ng Flexible Learning ay makapagbubukas anumang oras sa Agosto 2020. At yung mga Higher Education Institutions na gumagamit ng significant na face-to-face/in-person mode ay makapagbubukas lamang po ng hindi mas maaga ng Setyembre , 2020 sa mga lugar na nasa ilalim ng GCQ,” explained Secretary Roque.
Meanwhile, private HEIs are allowed to modify their academic calendar and open in August. The CHED will also continue to review conditions and discussions with HEIs.
Secretary Roque also clarified that LGUs are now authorized to procure and utilize the rapid antibody test kits that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
In the same media briefing, Task Force T3 (Test, Trace, and Treat) chief implementer Vince Dizon presented updates on the country’s testing capacity. According to Dizon, the percentage of actual tests per day has increased 74 percent from 5,000 tests (as of May 2) to 8,700 tests (as of May 10). Testing capacity per day also increased 70.6 percent from 8,500 tests (as of May 2) to 14,500 tests (as of May 10).
Dizon also reported that as of May 14, there are now 30 testing laboratories nationwide, some 10,000 OFWs were already swabbed from May 7-12, there are now 3,000 isolation bed capacity, and that additional isolation facilities are being constructed in Visayas and Mindanao. ### OPS-PCOO