DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 August) — Starting Monday, August 3, Dabawenyos will have to “self-regulate” as there will no longer be a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and they do not need to present food and medicine (FM) passes in public markets, groceries, and pharmacies, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said.
“Why do we need to lift food and medicine pass and curfew? It’s because we want people to self-regulate. We remain under quarantine, and it’s called a modified general community quarantine,” she said over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday.
This, even as the city’s COVID-19 cases have more than doubled from 416 on June 30 to 873 by July 31.
Duterte said she will issue an executive order that would detail the new guidelines for the Dabawenyos, following the approval of the local government’s appeal to COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until August 15.
The curfew has been in effect for more than four months since March 19.
Duterte reminded residents that they still need to observe precautionary measures to slow down the transmission of COVID-19 in the city such as staying at home and avoid going out for non-essential purposes, except for people who need to go out for work, consult the doctors, buy medicines, and buy other essential commodities.
She said the local government would reinstate stricter measures if the number of COVID-19 cases would continue to spike.
She said Sunday masses would also be allowed.
“We want people to understand, and it should come from them, that they need to practice (basic health protocols). Remember there is no vaccine, no medicines, and this will be here until we do not know when. People should understand that there is a quarantine, there is a need to stay home; number 2, wear a mask if you are going to work; and number 3, if you are going out, wear mask and observe distancing,” she said.
She said the local government hopes to keep the number of cases manageable, “otherwise the city will be closed again which is something that we do not want to happen.”
“Nobody wants to go back to GCQ (general community quarantine), nobody wants to go back to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), and nobody wants to go back to ECQ (enhanced community quarantine,” she said.
She said she wants residents to get used to the protocols under the new normal because the pandemic “will not go away tomorrow.”
The entire city was placed under ECQ from April 4 to May 15, general community quarantine from May 16 until June 30, and modified GCQ from July 1 to 15, 16 to 31 and extended until August 15.
“We are on MGCQ for the third time. For the last two extensions, that was based on appeal by the local government unit to IATF which were approved,” she said.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the city has surged since the city was under MGCQ, the cases more than doubled between June 30 and July 31.
On June 30, the last day the city was under GCQ, it had only 416 cases out of the region’s 534.
On July 15, supposedly the last day under MGCQ, it recorded 613 cases out of the region’s 843.
On July 31, Davao City recorded 873 cases or 66.64% out of 1,310 cases in the Davao region. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)