Metro Manila, other provinces shift to modified quarantine

REMINDERS. A barangay official (left) gives some important information as well as basic health protocols using a megaphone to the beneficiaries at the verification waiting area during the financial distribution at its village hall on Malakas Street, Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City on Tuesday (April 13, 2021). According to the post of the Quezon City government on its Facebook page, from April 7 to April 12, some 236,557 families or approximately 750,000 individuals have received government assistance. | PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler

METRO Manila and its surrounding provinces are now under the less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of April.

Malacañang on Sunday, April 11, said that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under MECQ from April 12 until April 30.

The City of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino province in Region 2, and Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region will be under MECQ.

“Inaprubahan ngayong araw ng ating Presidente ang rekomendasyon ng inyong IATF na ilagay ang mga lugar na ito (Our President approved today the recommendation of the IATF to put these areas [under MECQ]),” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

According to him, one of the factors in Duterte’s decision was the commitment of public and private hospitals to provide additional rooms and beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

Last week, Duterte urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to expedite the payment of claims of hospitals.

“Dahil sa direktiba ng Pangulo sa PhilHealth na magbayad sa mga ospital na mayroong mga unpaid Covid claims, marami sa ating mga private, national government, at LGU hospitals ay nag-commit na dadagdagan ang mga COVID-19 beds, lalo na ang mga ICU beds sa NCR Plus (Because of the President’s directive to PhilHealth to pay unpaid COVID-19 claims, more private, national government and local government unit hospitals have committed to increase COVID-19 beds, especially ICU beds in NCR Plus),” said Roque.

“Ito ang isa sa mga naging kritikal na basehan ng IATF para mag rekomenda sa ating Presidente na magluwag ng kaunti at gawing MECQ ang klasipikasyon sa NCR Plus (This is one of the critical bases of the IATF to recommend to the President the shifting of the quarantine classification in NCR Plus to MECQ),” he added.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Metro Manila will have shortened curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. following the Palace’s announcement.

“The Metro Manila Council [has]  agreed to impose new curfew hours across the metropolis starting tomorrow as the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starts,” it said Sunday.

Previously, the curfew hours were set from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. under ECQ.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos also said that authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are still exempted from the curfew provided “they show proof of identification or certificate of employment to authorities.”

To date, there are a total of 876,225 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country with 15,149 fatalities and 703,625 recoveries.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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