Pampanga, Angeles City appeal for Modified ECQ

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The province of Pampanga and city of Angeles has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to be placed under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

It was earlier announced by the IATF that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved their shift to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) beginning May 16 along with other areas in Central Luzon namely Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales and Olongapo City.

Governor Dennis Pineda said this was the consensus reached during his meeting today with the members of the Pampanga Mayors’ League, which was also attended by Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr.

“This measure was taken to prepare Kapampangans towards the new normal especially that Pampanga is still part of the moderate risk areas in terms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission based on IATF Resolution No. 35,” Pineda said.

The governor reiterated that Modified ECQ will also give local health authorities ample time to further assess COVID-19 test results since mass testing has just started. 

With this, he asked the mayors of the 19 towns and 2 cities under his jurisdiction to issue working permits to essential workers who will report to work after May 15 and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to establish allowed transport routes.

For his part, Lazatin noted that the the number of COVID-19 related cases in Angeles City is increasing and there is an upward trend in these numbers.

He said that although the city government procured testing kits for rapid antibody tests, the number is not enough.

As of May 5, 2,371 individuals already underwent rapid tests, where probable cases, persons with exposure, and City Hall frontline workers were prioritized.

Lazatin said the city government is seeking to ramp up the conduct of rapid mass testing to contain the virus.

“I am in constant coordination with the Philippine Red Cross, provincial government of Pampanga, and Department of Health to extend the city’s capabilities and resources to widen the conduct of rapid mass testing,” he added.

Lazatin also mentioned the city has already drafted guidelines for the impending GCQ.

“However, we need more time to flesh out all the details and logistics to ensure its orderly implementation. We strictly ask that we be given more time to do so,” he furthered.

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