Duterte places Lanao del Sur, Bacolod City under MECQ

President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Monday, September 7, the recommendation of the government's coronavirus task force to place Lanao del Sur and Bacolod City under a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In a statement on Monday, September 7, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Lanao del Sur and Bacolod City will be placed under an MECQ from September 8 to 30.

National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said during a televised briefing on Monday that the task force recommended a stricter community quarantine in the two areas because Lanao del Sur is "contiguous to Iligan City and its [cases are] also rising," while the cases in Bacolod City are "much higher than Iligan City."

Last September 1, Bacolod City reverted back to modified general community quarantine – the most relaxed form of community quarantine – despite the suggestion of experts to place it under MECQ.

Experts said that as of August 28, the city's total COVID-19 dedicated bed occupancy was already at 72%, breaching the 70% "danger threshold" set by the health department.

As of Monday, Iligan City is the only area in the country under MECQ.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained that Bacolod City reported 462 new cases in just 4 days.

"So that's why we strongly endorse the recommendation of General [Mel] Feliciano and Secretary [Roy] Cimatu to escalate the community quarantine to MECQ," Duque said on Monday.

The Philippines on Monday reported 1,383 new confirmed coronavirus cases – its lowest single-day tally in nearly two months.

This brings the total number of cases to 238,727, keeping the Philippines as the country with the highest number of reported infections in Southeast Asia. – with a report from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com