Just yesterday, Iloilo City, alongside Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City, were classified as low-risk provinces and shall no longer be under Community Quarantine starting May 16 – this is according to IATF Resolution No. 35 relayed by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. for the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) at the New Executive Building (NEB) of Malacañang.
However, the decision of the National Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Disease did not coincide with the wishes of the Western Visayas Task Force. In a post by the Daily Guardian, the WV Task Force expressed their sentiment that Western Visayas should remain under General Community Quarantine. According to WVRTF Spokesperson Atty. Roy Villa, the ‘low risk’ classification should be interpreted as a transition to GCQ than a total lift.
“Actually, the classification of low risk means that we can declare General Community Quarantine (GCQ), which means we can increase economic and social activities but they will still be limited. We want the people to understand that we are not going back to normal,” states WVRTF Spokesperson Atty. Roy Villa, in a social media post by the Daily Guardian.
Villa also shared that the WVRTF will coordinate with local government units.
“We will wait the for the guidelines to be issued by the LGUs and the IATF-EID with respect to the GCQ. We will see what will be allowed and what will be prohibited. The WVRTF will see to it that the guidelines issued will be in accordance with the guidelines by the IATF-EID. We will harmonize all of the guidelines between the LGUs for smoother implementation,” Villa adds.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, meanwhile, welcomed the decision of the national government. However, the mayor still insists that individuals remain vigilant and to exercise precautionary measures against the virus. Measures such as social distancing, wearing of facemask, and handwashing should remain a practice.
“We are very happy kon amo na nga low risk area kita. We will be ready as we have been preparing for this. Nagapasalamat gid ako sa tanan nga kabarangayan nga they have made sure nga indi magdamo ang infection sa syudad,” states Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas in a social media post.
What seemed to be welcomed decision was changed the day after when the government recalled the lifting of community quarantine in several areas in the country, this includes Western Visayas, which was listed as a ‘low risk’ area.
No CQ, then GCQ, then MGCQ
Just after noontime, it was reported that all areas in the country that were classified as ‘low risk’ will be placed under modified general community quarantine. According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, an amendment was made to the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) enforcing different types of lockdown in different areas in the country. Año clarified that ‘low risk’ areas should be put under ‘Modified ECQ’.
Under the Modified ECQ/Outside Buffer Zone, permissive socio-economic activities will open with minimum public health standards. The decision was made after local chief executives appealed for it.
It can be recalled that the same confusion was made earlier in May when Iloilo City was granted GCQ but was recalled a day after. However, whether it may be GCQ, MGCQ, the community should continue practicing safety measures so as not to cause the dreaded ‘second wave’. Moreover, it is important to wait for further announcements as well as the recommended guidelines and to keep safe always.