PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte this week revoked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decision to allow minors who are at least 10 years old to go outside.
The chief executive on Monday, January 25, reversed the new rule amid the threat of the new, more contagious COVID-19 variant in the country.
“In our desire to protect our people, I am compelled to reimpose the restriction,” Duterte said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“Not at this time. It’s a sacrifice for the parents and for the children,” he added.
In its latest resolution approved on January 21, the IATF allowed people aged 10 to 65 living in areas under modified general community quarantine to go outside starting February 1. But now, only those 15 and older can leave their homes.
Duterte also urged the public to strictly follow the government-mandated health protocols.
“I’d like to end by saying that the only salvation, actually, for those who have not been sickened with COVID-19 and pending the rollout of the vaccine is really that you follow the protocol of — imposed by government,” he said in his weekly public address.
“If you follow them, then you have great chances of not getting it or at least when you get it, there’s already the vaccine, then it will somehow mitigate, give you the relief,” he added.
Following Duterte’s decision, Malacañang said that children’s safety is the president’s primary concern.
“Ang kaniyang pangunahing concern eh pangalagaan ang kalusugan ng ating mga kabataan. So ‘yun lang po yun. Habang hindi pa tayo masyadong maraming alam sa bagong variant, stay home muna po ang mga bata (His primary concern is to protect the youth. So that’s it. Since we know less about the new variant, children need to stay home in the meantime),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday, January 26.
He also pointed out that Duterte’s decision prevails over the IATF’s.
“The president ultimately decides on matters under the jurisdiction of IATF dahil extension lang po ng Presidente ang IATF. So, wala pong issue doon (because IATF is just an extension of the President. So there is no issue there). Whatever the president has decided prevails,” the spokesman said.
To date, there are 17 confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant in the Philippines. Of the number, three cases are children aged 5, 6, and 10.