Poe slams flip-flop in Metro quarantine status
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday (Sept. 9) assailed the government’s “quarantine flip-flopping” which she said brought “deeper confusion and frustration” to people and businesses.
“Being under one of the world’s longest lockdowns, our people expect the government to already have guidelines in place as it had been enforcing variations of community quarantine restrictions in the past,” she said in a statement.
“Decisiveness and consistency in government policies are not only ideal in a pandemic, but critical lifelines,” Poe added.
The Duterte administration, at the last minute, withdrew a plan to place Metro Manila on general community quarantine (GCQ) with selected, or what officials called granular, lockdowns in areas with high COVID cases.
Instead, the IATF announced the extension of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which led to frustration from businesses and even some local government units.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) wanted to make sure that all the guidelines were in place before the shift to GCQ and localized lockdowns.
“Actually the reason for the retraction was that some members of the IATF felt that not all the rules were in place for the easing of the opening of the economy,” said Dominguez at a Senate finance committee hearing on the 2022 budget.
“They just wanted to make sure that all the rules were in place,” Dominguez said.
“They asked for, I think, four or five days to come up with that,” he added.
The IATF announced on Sept. 4 that Metro Manila will shift to a more relaxed GCQ status with localized lockdowns starting on Sept. 8.
Details of the new protocols were unclear as of Tuesday (Sept. 7) morning but officials said that the GCQ with localized lockdowns would push through.
But later that evening, the government backtracked, saying that MECQ, the current quarantine status of Metro Manila, would be extended until Sept. 15.
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