PH under MGCQ will harmonize ‘fragmented’ travel rules — DILG
MANILA, Philippines — Placing the entire Philippines under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by March will harmonize the “fragmented” travel rules being imposed by local government units (LGUs) across the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Saturday.
In a statement, DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to “harmonize and streamline” the different travel restrictions as these vary from province to province.
“Placing the entire country under one quarantine classification would allow the DILG to harmonize the fragmented travel regulations across the country,” he said.
Malaya said the DILG has organized a technical working group that is currently working with the various local government leagues to “to streamline local regulations for domestic travel as well as recommend best options to encourage domestic travel for leisure to revive the heavily-hit travel and tourism sector and related industries while managing the risks of Covid-19 transmission.”
Saying that people are “confused” with the different travel restrictions being imposed by each LGU, Malaya added: “We need to take a hard look if the regulations we impose are consistent with scientific data on prevention of Covid-19 transmission.”
The DILG spokesman, however, clarified that shifting to the most lenient quarantine condition or the harmonization of travel regulations does not mean a complete disregard of health protocols.
“We’re not saying that we will remove all travel restrictions and go back to where we came from. That’s impossible because Covid-19 is still here,” he said.
“We just need to streamline because we need our revive economy and address the hunger, loss of jobs, and economic opportunities that came as a result of the travel restrictions,” he added.
It was the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) who first proposed to President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire country under MGCQ as this will allow the reopening of industries that were previously prevented from operating by strict lockdown measures.
Nine out of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, meanwhile, backed the shift to MGCQ. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque, will also recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the further relaxation of quarantine restrictions nationwide.
Roque said Duterte might make his decision on Monday, Feb. 22, or before the end of February.
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