MECQ in Lanao del Sur, GCQ in Metro Manila, five other areas starting October 1

Marje Pelayo   •   September 29, 2020   •   1004

MANILA, Philippines — Starting Thursday (October 1), new quarantine classifications will take effect across the country and will remain for a duration of one month, as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in his late night public address Monday (September 28).

The President approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to place under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) areas in the province of Lanao del Sur including Marawi City from October 1 to 31. 

Meanwhile, six areas in the country will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) after the end of September.

These include Metro Manila, Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Iligan City and Iloilo City.

The rest of the country will be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The President said he is pleased with how the local governments are responding to the crisis brought about by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He reiterated the national government’s readiness to respond and continue its services especially in the face of a pandemic despite the criticisms.

Mga kababayan ko, wag kayong masyadong maniwala diyan sa mga atake-atake (My countrymen, don’t listen to the attacks too much). It would just muddle up your mind,” he said.

Nandito kami (We are here). Our purpose is to serve and to work, if we cannot serve, and if we cannot work, then we might as well get out of the government as ask somebody else to take over,” the president concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Gatchalian backs MECQ extension due to new COVID-19 variant in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday suggested the extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status in the Metro Manila and nearby provinces following the detection a new coronavirus variant in the Philippines.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Gatchalian said the MECQ should be extended until the end of May or until authorities are sure that the new variant has been contained.

Gatchalian admitted that he was initially pushing for the easing of community quarantine restrictions in the NCR Plus, noting that the economy is “correlated with the quarantine levels that we put in place.”

“For example, if it’s stricter quarantine levels definitely our economy will contract. If we loosen it up, our economy will expand so it’s directly correlated,” he said.

“[M]y initial thought is to go back to GCQ (general community quarantine) because the more we loosen it up, the more we will grow and the more jobs will create,” he added.

However, Gatchalian said he changed his mind when he heard that the coronavirus variant first reported in India has been detected in the Philippines.

“Going back to our experience last February and in March, these variants can be the cause of increased phase of infection in our communities and I recommend to extend the MECQ until the end of the month, until we contain this double variant,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday confirmed that the country has recorded two cases of B.1.617 variant from India. The cases were two male overseas Filipino workers who arrived in the country in April from two Middle Eastern countries.

The DOH said the two patients have already been tagged as recovered and released from quarantine after testing negative of the virus. There were also no listed close contacts as they were immediately placed under quarantine after their arrival.

The senator also observed that the modified version of the MECQ implemented by the government has been effective in containing the surge of COVID-19 cases.

He said that under this MECQ version, the government prohibited dine-ins and mass gatherings, which have been identified as “catalyst for infections.”

“That’s why in this new version of ECQ, we allowed almost everything except for gatherings, eating and get togethers and we can see the immediate effect, our reproduction rate went down, the number of cases went down, the attack rate, another matrix that we used went down, but more importantly, the occupancy of our hospitals also went down,” he said.

“[I]n other words, the dining in and gatherings are known as catalysts for infections and we need to keep this sharp for now because of these new variants,” he added.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively tagged as NCR Plus – are under MECQ until May 14.

Malacañang on Tuesday said the new community quarantine restrictions may be announced on Friday after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases have submitted its recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.

IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet back to MECQ due to high COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Northern provinces Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet have reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after recording high cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The MECQ status will take effect on May 11 until May 23.

As of May 10, Cagayan has 4,657 cases followed by Benguet with 531 and Apayao with 63.

Business operations in the said areas will be limited according to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

A liquor ban will be implemented while religious gatherings will only be allowed at 10% capacity.  Entertainment and recreational events also be suspended.

Benguet governor Melchor Diclas reported that majority of the COVID-19 cases in their area are severe. Hospitals in Benguet are also in short supply of respirators.

“Dumadami talaga ang mga pasyente natin. Marami ang namamatay at marami ang nagkakasakit ng critical at serious. Ang respirator natin may nagagamit tayong 13 na respirator. Ang bakante nalang ay dalawa,” he said.

(Our patients are increasing. Many have died and many are in critical or serious condition. We have 13 respirators but there are only two available units left.)

Hospitals in Apayao, meanwhile, are at 80% critical level.  In Cagayan Province, Governor Manuel Mamba said Tuguegarao City’s home quarantine setup is still contributing to the rising cases of COVID-19.

“Hindi magiging epektibo ang MECQ sa Tuguegarao City hangga’t may home quarantine,” he said.

(MECQ in Tuguegarao City will not be effective as long as home quarantine is being implemented .)

Mamba continues to reiterate the need to build isolation facilities in Tuguegarao to accommodate COVID-19 patients. AAC (With reports from Marvin Calas)



IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet under MECQ until May 23

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021


MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has placed Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) amid the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said on Monday.

Under IATF Resolution No. 114-C issued on May 9, the three provinces will be under MECQ from May 10 to 23.

“Upon the recommendation of the Screening and Validation Committee, Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet shall be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from May 10, 2021 to May 23, 2021. The risk-level classifications of the aforementioned provinces shall be without prejudice to their reclassification as may be warranted and the declaration of localized enhanced community quarantine in critical areas,” the resolution read.

Under MECQ status, non-essential travels are prohibited and non-essential services and establishments are partially shuttered.

Other areas under MECQ until May 14 include the National Capital Region, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Zamboanga City, Santiago City, Isabela, Quirino and Ifugao.

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