May 24, 2024

Restrictions imposed during the general community quarantine will now be relaxed as the Cordillera has been placed under modified general community quarantine effective June 1.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases defines MGCQ as the transition phase between GCQ and “new normal.”

On May 27, the IATF passed Resolution 40 classifying Baguio City, Pangasinan, Albay, and all provinces in regions 2, 3, and 4-A under moderate risk and still under GCQ until June 15.

The resolution states that provinces, highly-urbanized cities, and independent component cities classified to be low, moderate, and high-risk may appeal their classification to the validation and screening committee before May 29.

On Thursday last week, Mayor Benjamin Magalong asked the validation and screening committee to reconsider its earlier plan to place Baguio under GCQ.

Magalong cited the city’s ideal contact tracing system, slow-down in case doubling time, set-up of several triage areas, designation of isolation sites, a disciplined citizenry, active engagement with various sectors to ensure compliance with health protocols, increased testing capacity of the Baguio General Hospital sub-national laboratory, border control, and high recovery rate of Covid-19 patients as reasons for reclassification into MGCQ.

In his public address Thursday evening, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Baguio and the rest of the Cordillera are now under MGCQ.

In Section 5 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of GCQ, areas under MGCQ shall observe protocols such as “minimum public health standards” that include wearing of masks, frequent handwashing, and temperature checks.

Under MGCQ, all persons may now go outside their residences; indoor, outdoor, and non-contact sports may now be allowed; and mass gatherings are allowed but participants should be limited to 50 percent of the venue’s carrying capacity.

Also allowed are holding of face-to-face classes in consultation with local government units, full resumption of physical reporting to work but with alternative working arrangement for the vulnerable and those with co-morbidities, and resumption of public transportation at a capacity determined by the Department of Transportation.

Private transportation is also allowed with guidelines from the DoTR and public and private construction work may resume.

Barbershops, salons, and other personal care establishments, restaurants, accredited diplomatic missions, and all other services and establishments which were not permitted to operate during the ECQ and GCQ may now operate but entry of clients to their establishments shall be limited to 50 percent of the total carrying capacity.

In an interview over a local radio station, City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the city government will await the written directive of the IATF before they issue guidelines applicable in the locality.

In the past, the IATF has given LGUs the leeway to craft and implement localized or modified guidelines when Luzon was placed on ECQ and GCQ. – Rimaliza A. Opiña