President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved Wednesday the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) placing Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces or the so-called NCR Plus under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14.
Heeding the advice of health experts to give breathing space to the struggling hospitals, the President put Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna under MECQ.
Santiago City in Quirino province and Abra province will also be under MECQ starting May 1, President Duterte said in a public address.
Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) while the rest of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
During his address, the President apologized for the two-week extension of the MECQ in the NCR Plus, stressing the move is necessary to address the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and hospital congestion.
“So mga kababayan ko, naghihingi lang ako sa inyo ng paumanhin. I’m sorry that I have to impose a longer — itong modified enhanced community kasi kailangan. Nag-spike ang — may spike ang ano, tumaas ‘yong infections at ‘yong hospital natin puno,” President Duterte said.
The chief executive appealed to the public to follow government-mandated health protocols to prevent more people from being infected and to help the country recover from the pandemic.
“So sumunod na lang muna kayo tutal para man ito sa lahat. Ako ‘yong pinakahuling tao na mag-istorbo sa buhay ninyo. Sabi ko nga eh, I want the people to be comfortable. So sometimes you have to interdict or intervene because it is of national interest. But — ibig sabihin para sa — for the good of all ‘yan eh — tawag nito? Iyong health hazard,” he said.
The President said he will hold local officials especially mayors and barangay captains accountable for not enforcing the law and allowing people to congregate that in the end result to the increase in COVID-19 infection.
The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 6,895 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, putting the country’s total infection figure to 1,020, 495 since the start of the pandemic. Of the 67,769 active cases, 27,891 came from the NCR.
There were 935,695 total recoveries and 17,031 fatalities. PND