PERSONNEL MANNING quarantine checkpoints have been told not to hinder the movements of agricultural goods, as well as farming and fisheries workers, who are classified as essential personnel, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement that the Philippine National Police and local government units have been notified of such exemptions to quarantine rules.

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declaration covering Metro Manila and neighboring provinces has been extended by a week to April 11.

Mr. Dar said food logistics must also remain unhampered.

“We have instructed our respective DA regional directors to ensure the continuous delivery of surplus farm and fishery products to the areas covered by the ECQ, through our farmers’ cooperatives and associations and through our KADIWA outlets in partnership with local government units in Metro Manila and the private sector,” Mr. Dar said.

On April 3, the President’s spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. announced the one-week extension to contain a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Mr. Roque said the strictest form of quarantine covers the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. The measure was first enforced on March 29 and was originally due to end on April 4.

“The ECQ will be coupled with a strict enforcement of the so-called “prevent, detect, isolate, treat and reintegrate (PDITR) strategy. Healthcare utilization, case numbers and the PDITR gatekeeping indicators would serve as the parameters to be assessed for the succeeding weeks’ risk classification,” Mr. Roque said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave