Medialdea defends declaration of "community quarantine" in Metro Manila sans guidelines for its enforcement
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said on Friday the "urgency" of the situation prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place Metro Manila under a "community quarantine" even without the proper guidelines on how it would be implemented.
In his message to the government employees, Medialdea acknowledged that with the President's pronouncement, particularly on the enforcement of travel restrictions in the National Capital Region, based on the resolution crafted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Diseases to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease, many questions cropped up.
"In his message to our people, the President read from the Resolution of the IATF. As you may all know by now, this has led to a deluge of questions from the public about the scope of those directives. I have received a number of them myself, and I am sure each of you also did. In fact, I will have to admit to all of you that, in my experience, no single pronouncement of the President has given rise to so many questions as the one last night," he said.
He said the people want to know if their specific situations were covered by the directives.
"Ideally, the questions of the public should have been anticipated even as the IATF resolution was being crafted yesterday. I would like to think that they were anticipated, but that due to the urgency, a resolution was passed even while being silent on these questions," he said.
Medialdea said he has assembled a team led by his deputies to craft a written directive to be issued by the Office of the President, formalizing the adoption of the IATF recommendations and clarifying the measures being instituted.
While Duterte mentioned on Thursday night that he might issue an executive order to operationalize the IATF resolution, Medialdea said instead of an EO, he might just release a memorandum, which he would sign "by authority of the President," to faithfully reflect the approvals during his meeting with the task force members.
Medialdea said Duterte had done this when he approved the IATF Resolution No. 2 expanding foreign travel restrictions, through a memorandum that he signed last February 1.
As of press time, the Palace has yet to issue the memorandum for the proper implementation of Duterte's directives.
"My request to everyone here today is to take a step back, consider carefully what the situation warrants, and only then propose measures to confront the crisis we are now in. This virus is the biggest and most urgent problem the government is facing right now, but let us remember that we also have our people’s livelihoods to consider. Any measure that will impoverish them will be seen as a cure worse than the disease," he said.
Duterte has announced that all land and domestic sea and air travels to and from Metro Manila would be suspended from March 15 to April 14 as part of the measure to address the public health emergency. Celerina Monte/DMS