PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus until the middle of May.
In his weekly public address on Wednesday, April 28, Duterte announced that Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will remain under the second strictest quarantine classification until May 14.
Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra, will also be under MECQ for the entire month of May.
Duterte meanwhile placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) the following areas: Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.
The rest of the Philippines will be under the modified GCQ.
Duterte apologized to the public for extending the MECQ in NCR Plus, saying his decision was based on the recommendation of medical professionals.
“Mga kababayan ko, maghingi lang ako sa inyo ng paumanhin. I’m sorry that I have to impose a longer itong modified enhanced community (To my fellow countrymen, I want to apologize. I’m sorry that I have to impose a longer modified enhanced community quarantine),” he said Wednesday.
“Kasi kailangan. Nag-spike ng ano, tumaas ‘yung infections at ‘yung hospital natin, puno (It is necessary because there is a spike of infections and our hospitals are already occupied),” he added.
The Philippines on Monday, April 26, surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, becoming the second country in Southeast Asia to reach the grim milestone.
Duterte urged the public to continue observing the minimum health public standards amid the pandemic.
“I want the people to be comfortable so sometimes you have to interdict or intervene because it is of national interest. Ibig sabihin (Meaning, it is) for the good of all,” he said.
“Sumunod na lang tayo sa lahat para tignan ko kung anong magagawa ko sa paghihirap ng tao (Let’s just follow and I will look for ways to ease the people’s plight),” he added.
To date, the country has a total of 1,028,738 COVID-19 cases, with 17,145 fatalities and 942,239 recoveries. n