Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he was more inclined to recommend Metro Manila lockdown extension as the number of COVID-19 cases in NCR continues to increase.
Bong Go, who is Duterte’s longtime aid and now head of the Senate health committee, also agrees with the other senators’ recommendation on easing the restrictions in other Luzon provinces with lesser coronavirus cases.
“As a senator, I’m in favor of extending the [lockdown] in the [National Capital Region] because of the increasing [coronavirus] cases. We really have to contain [the rate of transmission] because our health-care system may not be enough if this worsened,” Go said in a video message.
“In other provinces, it could be lifted and converted to a modified community quarantine. What’s important is to make sure that Filipinos will be able to eat [regularly] because that’s the reason why they are going outside their homes,” Go said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision would be based on the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, health experts, and former Secretaries of the Department of Health (DOH). The team met on Monday, Roque said.
Roque also said the task force would also draft recommendations to Duterte concerning the public health measures and a possible easing of ECQ restrictions to resume a phased economic activity after April 30.
Metro Manila lockdown extension
President Duterte is expected to decide on whether to extend, lift, or modify the lockdown this week, Roque said.
The Palace spokesman also said if the number of cases continues to decrease, Duterte may modify the community quarantine and limit the strict measures to regions with a high number of COVID-19 infections.
“Whatever [the President’s] decision is, we need to prepare for its implementation,” Roque said. “We expect that the recommendations of the experts and the [task force] will be finished this week so that the President can make his choice,” he added.
Several senators expressed their support for the proposed phased reopening of the Philippine economy.
As of April 20, the Philippines recorded 6,459 cases of coronavirus, with 428 deaths and 613 recoveries.