President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night approved the recommendation of the Department of Health (DoH) to put the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from 4 to 18 August 2020 due to rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the president also approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to issue work and quarantine passes to minimize movement.
Roque said the local government units (LGU) and the COVID-19 CODE Teams are directed to intensify the localized lockdown strategy and the implementation of Oplan Kalinga.
“The guidelines for minimum health standards will also be strictly enforced and intensified while giving 20 million face masks for the poor,” Roque said.
DoH Secretary Francisco Duque III spoke on behalf of the medical community saying the two-week MECQ would help halt the further spread of the virus in Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces.
Meanwhile, Roque said the Chief Executive likewise approved the hiring of additional healthcare workers to augment the current medical workforce, including the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and the calling to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Healthcare workers would also be provided additional benefits, such as risk allowance for private sector healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients, the amount of P10,000 to P15,000 for every healthcare worker that gets sick, life insurance, free accommodation, free transportation, free and frequent testing.
The use of RT-PCT testing as gold standard has likewise been approved by PRRD.
We understand you
In his talk to the people to address the COVID-19 situation in the country Sunday night, the President assured medical frontliners that they are fully aware of the hardships and challenges they are facing in helping those infected by the virus and the government is there to assist them in anyway they can.
“I fully understand why you health workers would like to ask for such a timeout period. They have been in the frontlines for months and are exhausted. To our health workers, this is where you have been trained to fight. This is a profession that you, all of you, are educated and trained to face such challenges. You are frontliners in the battlefield because you are (learnent) in this field,” Duterte said.
“Kung walang tutulong sa bansa at mga kababayan natin, sino ang maasahan ko? Sino ang maasahan natin na gumawa ng trabahong ito?,” he added.
(If no one will help the country and our countrymen, who will I rely on? Who will we rely on to do this job?)
The President asked the medical frontliners not to lose hope and further stretch their patience as they help government and the rest of the country deal with the pandemic.
“We are aware that you are tired, that you have work almost even beyond 24 hours a day. Wala kaming matakbuhan, kayo yung nag-aral, kayo yung may alam,” he added.
(We have no one to run to. You are the ones educated and have knowledge.)