Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said more employees can go back to their jobs under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“So, total around 75 to 78 percent [are] allowed to work under MECQ,” Lopez stressed.

“There will be new quarantine status of regions, provinces, and cities starting May 16.”

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the new quarantine status of regions, provinces, and cities starting May 16.

Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City are listed as areas under MECQ.

While still in ECQ measures, areas under MECQ are allowed to partially open some sectors.  

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also identified industries that are allowed to operate under MECQ and GCQ.

The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment earlier issued minimum health standards for companies that will resume operations once the ECQ is eased.

The protocol includes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing of workers, which can be limited to those with illness or COVID-19 symptoms, with the test cost to be shouldered by the company.

Observing physical distancing, regular disinfection, and theproviding of personal protective equipment, among others, are also included in the minimum health standards for a company to resume its operation.

In an interview with CNN Philippines recently, Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said the challenge now is the transportation of workers in places under MECQ.

“Around 6.822 million is the additional workforce mobility.”

“Based on the industries they identified that can resume their jobs, around 6.822 million is the additional workforce mobility, but there is no public transport,” Salceda said. 

But the veteran legislator welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases on easing restrictions and allowing some economic activities after a two-month lockdown, saying this is not a premature easing of quarantine measures as the government has ramped up its testing capacity.

“Obviously, we cannot rely on mobility restrictions like ECQ. What we need is isolation, trace, test, and treat,” the seasoned lawmaker added.


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