President Rodrigo Duterte has appealed for understanding over the government’s flip-flopping quarantine system in Metro Manila.
In his pre-recorded speech aired Saturday morning, the President said he had ordered the deferment of the pilot implementation of the new lockdowns scheme in the capital region since the specific guidelines set by the pandemic task force were “lacking.”
“I am one of those who found the rules lacking. I ask for [the] general public’s continued understanding and patience on this matter,” he said.
“I know many of you are raring to go to work and conduct your business already, but we have to make sure that we cover any contingency so that we may reduce the risk of infections,” Duterte added.
The President said he had to postpone its implementation for the welfare of the public, noting that he did not want to be remembered as the “one who caused the death of so many.”
“If it’s a matter of cough syrup or a pill for a headache — a migraine, maybe — I will not interfere. I will not say anything about it,” he said.
“But the problem is lives are at stake. That’s the problem,” the President added.
Earlier this week, the administration deferred the pilot test of general community quarantine (GCQ) with an “alert level system” in Metro Manila, a day before its supposed implementation on Wednesday.
The pandemic task force then extended the imposition of the strict quarantine system in the capital region until 15 September, much to the dismay of restaurant owners who have prepared their staff for their expected reopening, since it meant that their operations were still prohibited.
Under the new quarantine scheme, there would only be two quarantine classifications, namely, enhanced community quarantine and GCQ with “localized” lockdowns of establishments, streets, and villages with rising Covid-19 cases, in which restrictions would be based on an alert level system.
The alert level classification would determine which industries or establishments were allowed to operate within a specified area in Metro Manila.
Business groups had earlier cheered the policy shift, which the government hoped would better manage coronavirus infections while further reopening the economy.
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