Barangay-level lockdown to continue after ECQ lifting

SELECTIVE lockdowns at the barangay level should remain in place after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are lifted, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III said. “(For) areas that still have high level of infection, I think they will continue (the lockdown), and I would agree with that because we cannot let our guards down,” Mr. Concepcion said in a television interview on Sunday. Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the COVID-19 National Action Plan, earlier said selective quarantine is possible as a means to isolate and treat COVID-19 patients. “We start from the barangay… if it’s very hard for the government to monitor, then you can look at the municipality and elevate it to the city and so forth to the province. Those are our recommendations,” Mr. Concepcion said. He also announced that the private sector recently launched Project ARK (antibody rapid test kits) to test all employees for the virus. The project will later be expanded to sample sizes in barangays, he said, adding that the data collected by the private sector will be shared with the Health department. — Jenina P. Ibañez

Lawmaker seeks detailed report on quarantine facilities

A LAWMAKER called on the government to provide detailed reporting and accountability on temporary quarantine facilities (TQFs) for coronavirus disease 2019 patients around the country. “There is an IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease) directive enjoining LGUs (local government units) to set up their temporary quarantine facilities. Where are the daily and weekly reports on these TQFs?” Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr. said in a statement Sunday. He recommended that the government post status reports on TQFs and identify the accountable individuals in charge of the day-to-day operations. — Genshen L. Espedido

Gov’t yet to decide on ceasefire extension

THE GOVERNMENT has yet to discuss whether to extend the unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels, Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in a statement on Sunday. “(T)his matter is something the National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict can discuss with the President,” he said. The ceasefire was first ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the beginning of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last month as the country deals with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Communist Party of the Philippines reciprocated after the United Nations called for a global armistice amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The communist movement has announced a ceasefire extension to April 30, which coincides with the lifting of the ECQ. “The call for peace is everyone’s desire and it has become more urgent in the present state of calamity and public health emergency,” Mr. Roque said. — Gillian M. Cortez

Palace wants more proof of alleged human rights violations by LGUs

THE Palace on Sunday said they will need more proof before taking action on alleged human rights violations by local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of community quarantine guidelines. Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, in a statement, said, “As we are not fully aware of the details of such violations, we will appreciate receipt of detailed information of the same for proper action by the appropriate agencies.” He added, “Under the current circumstances we are in, the LGUs enforce the law as reasonably strict as possible for the full protection of our people.” The national government has imposed a lockdown in Luzon and quarantine guidelines for LGUs nationwide. There have been allegations made on social media of punishments for violators such as carrying a gallon of water for hours, push-ups, and other physically demanding activities. Mr. Roque told the public to simply follow the quarantine rules, saying, “This entails everyone’s cooperation. We need to fight this pandemic together.” — Gillian M. Cortez