MANILA, Philippines — Extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Greater Manila Area beyond April 4 is an “absolute last resort” as the first option remains to be reopening the economy to allow Filipinos to return to their livelihoods.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this Tuesday as he noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will meet on Saturday to decide on whether the ECQ in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna will be extended after April 4.
“Sa mga nagtatanong naman po kung maextend pa ang ECQ, pinagiisipan po itong mabuti ng inyong IATF at sa Sabado po, Black Saturday ay meron kami muling pagpupulong para po isapinal kung ano ang mangyayari. Pero sinabi ko na po ito, another week or two weeks of [ECQ] yan po ay magiging absolute last resort,” Roque said in an online briefing on Tuesday.
(To those who are asking if the ECQ will be extended, the IATF is carefully thinking about this, and on Black Saturday, we will have a meeting to finalize what will happen. I already said this, another week or two weeks of [ECQ] is an absolute last resort.)
“Inaasahan po natin na ang isang linggong ECQ na nangyari matapos po ang isang linggo ng NCR Plus bubble, kasama po ng mask, hugas, iwas, at kasama po yung maigting na pagbabahay bahay ng paghahanap ng merong sintomas at mas pinaigting na testing and isolation, umaasa po tayo na sana po, hindi na kinakailangan mag-ECQ,” he added.
(We expect that after the one-week ECQ and the one-week NCR Plus bubble along with the practice of wearing masks, handwashing, looking for people with symptoms and boosting the testing and isolation, we expect that we won’t need another ECQ.)
Asked what the government’s first option is, Roque said it remains to be allowing more Filipinos to return to their jobs.
“The first option is to resort to reopening of the economy kasi alam nating itong ayudang binibigay natin isang stop-gap. Hindi po yan para sa total health ng ating mga kababayan, it’s to let them survive from meal to meal. Mas importante po na mabigyan ng pagkakataon makapagtrabaho ang lahat,” Roque said.
(The first option is to resort to reopening the economy because we know that the aid we’re giving is just a stop-gap. It’s not for our countrymen’s total health, it’s to let them survive from meal to meal. What’s more important is to give everyone the chance to work)
Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte himself was concerned if the government would still be able to distribute aid should the imposition of ECQ be extended beyond April 4.
“Wala naman po basta ang nasa isipan ng Presidente kung mag-e-ECQ, siguraduhing meron tayong assistance na mailalabas para sa ating mga kababayan,” Roque said when asked what the President thought about proposals to extend the ECQ.
(Nothing really but what’s in the President’s mind if ECQ will continue is to ensure that we have assistance for our countrymen.)
The government will distribute P1,000 worth of in-kind assistance or cash, but not more than P4,000 per family, to 22.9 million individuals affected by the reimposition of ECQ in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
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