May 20 ------ The government may shift to implementing lockdowns at the barangay level instead of placing an entire region under community quarantine, chief implementer of the government’s coronavirus response Carlito Galvez announced Tuesday (May 19). In a bid to protect the country’s “economic corridor,” Galvez said barangay-level lockdown may be declared depending on the number of coronavirus cases in the area.
“Ang ginagawa po natin ngayon, Mr. President, baka hindi na tayo mag-declare ng lockdown per ano — per region, but ang lockdown na lang natin nito by barangay,” he said in a public briefing with President Duterte aired on state television. “Ang ibig sabihin, paliitin na lang natin. Ang gagawin po natin is ‘yung barangay na mayroong cases, ‘yon po ang ila-lockdown natin para ma-preserve natin po ‘yung ating economic — ang economic ano po natin,” said Galvez, also Presidential peace adviser.
He said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will give guidance to the local government units (LGUs) on the declaration of barangay-level lockdowns. He said they intend to localize the National Action Plan on the coronavirus response through the LGUs. “For example, may isang compound na apat na pamilya ang affected, iyon po ang ila-lockdown po natin. At hindi po nating hahayaan sila na magkaroon ng infections doon sa mga economic corridor po natin. We have to preserve ‘yung economic corridor po natin,” he said.
The government moved to gradually relax the lockdown measures in several places, allowing the partial opening of more businesses in a bid to jumpstart the economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Only two places, namely Cebu City and Mandaue City, are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until the end of the month to stem the spread of the coronavirus there. Metro Manila, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, and Laguna have been placed under modified ECQ wherein public transportation remains suspended, but more businesses are allowed to partially open. All moderate and low risk areas will be under the more relaxed general community quarantine.
Galvez also gave the President an update on the country’s improving healthcare capacity, from hospital beds, personal protective equipment sets for health workers, to the daily testing capability. Galvez also said he will join the Department of Trade and Industry in visiting the malls to check their compliance with the government’s quarantine rules. He warned about the closure of malls if they violate quarantine regulations.