Mixed Martial Arts

Gov’t task force rejects ECQ requests of several provinces

Carmela Fonbuena
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya says regional task forces may instead extend the enhanced community quarantine in smaller areas such as towns and barangays

GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE. La Union Governor Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III declares a general community quarantine in the province. Photo from La Union Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s coronavirus task force rejected requests of several provinces to extend their enhanced community quarantines (ECQ) until May 15, said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Only those in the high-risk areas based on the latest data from DOH (Department of Health) were allowed to remain under ECQ,” said DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya in a text message to Rappler on Sunday, May 3.

Regional task forces may extend the ECQ in smaller areas, however.

“This does not prevent the LGU (local government unit) to declare a part – a town or barangay – under ECQ so long as it’s with the concurrence of the regional IATF (inter-agency task force),” he said.

Malaya underscored that “GCQ is still quarantine, but we just allow people who work in permitted industries” to restart the economy.

Most regions in the Philippines were ordered to lift their ECQ on Friday, May 1, except Metro Manila and nearby regions of Calabarzon and Central Luzon, with the exemption of Aurora province; the provinces of Pangasinan, Benguet, Cebu, and Iloilo; and the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao.

The requests of Bacolod City, Zamboanga City, and Albay province to extend their ECQ were recently granted by the national task force.

“All others are rejected because their areas are low or moderate risk, based on the LGU Risk Assessment Framework of DOH,” said Malaya.

Where ECQ was rejected

Among the localities that also requested extension were La Union, Mountain Province, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Marawi City. A report on CNN Philippines said Isabela including Santiago City, Butuan, and Camarines Sur also requested ECQ extensions.

Bangsamoro Parliament Member Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman of the Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, confirmed that the request of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City was rejected.

The two areas have since withdrawn an executive order that extended their ECQ until May 15. They began to impose a general community quarantine on Sunday.

Lanao del Norte spokesperson Lyndon Calica said the province has not received an official response from the national government, “but we heard it was denied.”

Sources in La Union confirmed the request of the province was rejected, too. – with a report from Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.com