News Release

Palace: PRRD to decide on ECQ extension based on experts’ recommendations

The Palace announced on Monday that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will meet later in the day with medical specialists and experts in a bid to arrive at a decision on the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, that was initially extended up to April 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr, in his media briefing held in Malacanang on April 20, announced that the President will seek the guidance and recommendation of medical experts, composed of epidemiologists and virologists, and former secretaries of the Department of Health (DOH).

“Nais po nya gumawa ng tamang desisyon, at uulitin ko po, ang desisyon nya ay nakabase dun sa paghanap ng balanse doon sa obligasyon ng estado sa isang panig na pangalagaan ang kalusugan nating lahat, doon naman sa karapatan ng mga mamamayan na magkaroon ng hanap-buhay,” said Secretary Roque.

The Palace official said that the President is also studying his options on whether to extend the ECQ or enforce a modified ECQ based on previous suggestions from Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. Concepcion III and Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. The suggested modified ECQ will be based on geographical location or depending on the number of cases recorded in a locality, or it can be based on comorbidities or the presence of other health or medical condition that affects a person’s risk to acquire the disease.

“Inaasahan po natin na ang pagkonsulta sa mga dalubhasa at ang mga recommendations ng IATF ay mabubuo po ngayong linggo ng sa gayon ay magkaroon na ng desisyon ang Presidente at makapaghanda sa implementasyon nito,” Roque said.

Secretary Roque in the same briefing announced that President Duterte had a telephone conversation with United States President Donald Trump last night, April 19, where the two leaders discussed possible collaboration on the COVID-19 situation.

“It was cordial and it was about collaboration nga, bilateral collaboration on COVID-19,” said Roque, who refused to divulge any further details as instructed by the President.

Meanwhile, the President’s spokesperson underscored the government’s strategy in fighting COVID-19, which is to locate, isolate and cure.

“Ang stratehiya natin ay locate, isolate and cure. Gagamitin po natin yang rapid test kasama ang PCR [test] para malocate po at ma-seggregate na iyong mga nagkakasakit para hindi na po kumalat ang sakit,” stressed Roque.

Related to this, Secretary Roque announced that we now have 2,780 quarantine facilities to accommodate 168,000 patients and 17 accredited testing centers that can do up to 10,000 COVID tests a day. ### OPS/PCOO