"Highly unlikely" for Metro Manila, nearby provinces to remain under MECQ - Palace
Malacañang said on Tuesday Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal are "highly unlikely" to remain under modified enhanced community quarantine after August 18 amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.
"The question is if it's possible, my answer is anything is possible but highly unlikely," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a virtual press briefing when asked if it is still possible for the National Capital Region and the four nearby provinces to remain under MECQ after the 15-day stricter quarantine protocol.
Roque said the government would continue with its strategy before the medical societies urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reimpose the stricter quarantine measure for two weeks, which he approved from August 4 to August 18.
"What we will do are the localized and granular (lockdowns)," he said.
Under the localized and granular lockdowns, Roque said the government might ask the help not only of the Philippine National Police but the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well.
"It doesn't mean that once we have a less strict community quarantine, we will no longer impose ECQ. The localized and the granular lockdowns, they are ECQ," he said.
He cited the case of Quezon City, where Mayor Joy Belmonte mentioned that she would still implement total lockdown, including in workplaces. Thus, the city government would send letters to employers that workers could not go out of their house.
Roque said that would be how strict the government would be in case MECQ is lifted in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces to arrest the spread of COVID-19.
He said the government has identified the clusters where high cases of COVID-19 could be found in Metro Manila. Celerina Monte/DMS