Last-minute MECQ: IATF’s announcement ‘late’ again, residents say

August 20, 2021 - 4:48 PM
A makeshift barricade blocks a street from outsiders to protect a neighbourhood from the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manila, Philippines, March 23, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced the new quarantine classifications late Thursday night, on August 19.

This was merely a few hours before the previous enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila was scheduled to end on August 20.

Filipinos on social media say there is not enough time to adjust business operations and schedule of other important daily activities for the coming days.

This delay triggered some criticisms from social media users, citing lack of urgency and incompetence.

“Naloloka ako bukas ang last day ng ECQ tapos bukas pa ifafinalize tapos bukas din iaannounce?!” one user said.

“Wala talagang urgency,” one user wrote.

“Tropa ko yata tong mga nasa gobyerno— hilig mag-cram,” another user commented.

The implementation of new guidelines on short notice had been the subject of complaints from the public since last year.

They pointed out that the little window time given severely affects regular business operations and other important activities.

READ: Changing quarantine phases: Little window to implement lockdown rules derails daily ops

The IATF announced on Thursday that the National Capital Region, Laguna and Bataan are placed under modified enhanced community quarantine starting on August 21 to 31.

These areas join other provinces under the same classification.

The rest of the country, meanwhile, are covered by the general community quarantine with heightened restrictions and GCQ.

What happened before 

At a briefing on August 19, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the task force was set to meet and discuss it in the afternoon.

The new classifications will thus be announced the next day, Roque said.

President Rodrigo Duterte would also hold a “tentative” national address on that day.

“Well, pag-uusapan po mamayang hapon ng IATF ang quarantine classification at mayroon pong tentative na Talk to the People ang Pangulo sa Biyernes, pero tentative pa lang po iyan,” Roque said.

Metro Manila mayors, who normally have their own recommendation on the matter, have previously stated they will leave the decision on the quarantine phases to the IATF.