MANILA – One of the factors to further easing quarantine classifications is if more Filipinos comply with minimum health standards necessary to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the country, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.
Panelo appealed to the public to comply with quarantine protocols such as wearing of face masks, face shields, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing, noting that their cooperation would allow the government to reopen more industries affected by the pandemic.
“Kailangan talaga ng gobyerno ang inyong kooperasyon at ang pagsunod sa batas upang matalo natin ang coronavirus (The government needs your cooperation and compliance to the law to defeat coronavirus),” he said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”
Even if President Rodrigo Duterte himself is against stricter quarantine categories, Panelo said the President had no choice but to impose them if needed to prevent the country’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
He said Duterte would only impose stricter lockdowns if Filipinos continue to defy quarantine protocols.
“Mapipilitan po ang Pangulong Duterte kung lumala ang sitwasyon dito sa ating bansa dahil lamang mayroong mga kasama nating mamamayan na talaga namang malupit na hindi sumusunod sa mga patakaran ng health protocols (The President will be forced to impose stricter lockdowns if the situation worsens in our country just because there are people who really refuse to observe health protocols),” he said.
He warned that the more Filipinos refused to comply with quarantine protocols, the longer it would take before things return to normal.
“Hangga’t naririyan ang coronavirus, talagang matatagalan. Matatagalan sa dami ng mga ayaw sumunod sa protocols (While coronavirus exists, it will take time. It will take time for things to go back to normal because of those who refuse to follow protocols),” he said.
In a pre-recorded meeting with Cabinet officials aired Tuesday morning, Duterte expressed dismay that many Filipinos continue to ignore the quarantine and health protocols despite the government’s repeated reminders for them to follow preventive coronavirus measures.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said around 32,867 individuals have failed to ensure the proper wearing of face mask, 10,705 have not observed strict physical distancing, and 585 have joined mass gatherings.
The City of Santiago in Isabela, Zamboanga City, Quirino, and Ifugao are under the more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine until May 31.
On the other hand, a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) is imposed in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Puerto Princesa.
The rest of the country stays under the least restrictive modified GCQ. (PNA)