MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thursday night the new quarantine restrictions to cover Metro Manila and neighboring provinces beginning May 15.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal – collectively known as the NCR Plus area – under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021.
Other areas placed under the GCQ with heightened restriction status are the provinces under the Cordillera Administrative Region, such as Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Abra; Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2; Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A; Puerto Princesa in Region 4-B; Iligan City in Region 10; Davao City in Region 11; and Lanao del Sur in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
On the other hand, the City of Santiago and Quirino Province in Region 2; Ifugao in the Cordillera Administrative Region; and Zamboanga City in Region 9 are placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
Meanwhile, all other areas are placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) until the month’s end.
Under the GCQ with heightened restrictions, only essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus shall be allowed.
“Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the Department of Transportation guidelines while the use of active transportation shall be promoted,” the statement said.
Moreover, indoor dine-in services in the NCR Plus shall be at 20% venue or seating capacity, while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50% venue or seating capacity.
Outdoor tourist attractions in the NCR Plus, on the other hand, maybe opened at 30% with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.
“Further allowed in the NCR Plus are specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) following the minimum public health standards and implementation of protocols and restrictions as set by the DOT,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 in the NCR Plus shall be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity.
In his pre-taped Talk to the Nation aired on Thursday, President Duterte particularly mentioned about foregoing congregations especially this month of town fiestas.
“Ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forego kasi may batas. Forego to congregate, to crowd, and to hold [fiestas]. Walang problema, alam ng Dios na love natin Siya. But ang problema is the necessary consequence of it all,” the President said.
“I will not allow violations of the guidelines given by the task force. And I will hold the local government down to the barangay level, and therefore, it could only be the barangay captains. I will hold you responsible for any violations, sa mga batas na hindi natutupad. Batas ito. You have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover from the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” the President further said.
Also continued to be allowed in areas under the GCQ with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games, scrimmages held outdoors; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, beauty clinics, etc at 30% capacity.
Individuals, 18-65 years of age, are allowed to go out of their homes in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
“Meanwhile, entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, etc; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, etc; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions shall not be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions,” Roque’s statement read.
Interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), shall remain prohibited in the GCQ areas with heightened restrictions, the statement further read.