I would like to commend everyone who had been diligent in cooperating with the government and practicing the minimum health protocols in the more than 70 days that we have been in quarantine.
Your sacrifices have helped slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, significantly. Had we not followed quarantine protocols and the minimum health standards set by our Health department, many of us, much more than the current numbers, would have gotten sick or succumbed to our unseen enemy.
Because of our sacrifices, our country had time to prepare our critical care capacity, and the case doubling time, or the time it takes for the number of COVID-19 cases to double, has significantly slowed down.
An improved critical care capacity and slowed down case doubling time, among social, economic and security factors, are the reasons why the government has eased out quarantine restrictions in many parts of the country.
We have graduated from an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to a modified ECQ, and now we are in Day Two of general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
The latest Inter-Agency Task Force resolution that has been approved by the President has placed the following areas under GCQ from 1 June until 15 June: Pangasinan, Region II, Region III, Region IV-A, Region VII, Zamboanga City, Davao City and the National Capital Region (NCR). Meanwhile, the rest of the country are now under MGCQ until June 15.
What does this mean? For many who are employed in allowed sectors and industries, the shift to GCQ/MGCQ means a return to work after more than two months of home quarantine.
I know it has been hard for many of you to go back to work, especially to the commuters who had a hard time getting a ride in going to their workplaces. Pasensya na po. I am asking for your patience and understanding, as your government is doing its best to help everyone transition to these eased quarantine restrictions without sacrificing both our nation’s economy and the health of our countrymen.
Please understand that we cannot allow all public utility vehicles to operate right away as we are still taking into serious consideration how to maintain the minimum health standards in public transportation to keep the commuter’s safety in check.
Rest assured that the administration, with its whole-of-government approach, has put in place interventions and measures following minimum public health standards to ensure the safety of Filipinos. We have issued guidelines that apply to workplaces, employers and workers, and public transportation.
As I have said in numerous occasions, as there is still no miracle cure or vaccine for this dreadful virus, we should continue to be vigilant. The government cannot fight COVID-19 alone. We need the concerted effort of everyone.
Let us continue supporting our authorities in enforcing quarantine protocols. Let us take care of each other by wearing face masks/face shields, maintaining physical/social distancing, staying at home, avoiding crowded places and going out only if/when need. Only then we can heal and rise as one.