Public Address on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace
March 12, 2020

In light of the increasing number of confirmed cases due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte addressed the nation to announce several measures that shall be implemented to contain and mitigate the spread of the said virus.

The announcement was made after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) met at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace.

During the address, President Duterte announced the contents of Resolution Number 11 that was adopted by the IATF-EID hours before the meeting with the President.

The Resolution placed the country under Alert Level Four (4) Code Red Sublevel Two (2), meaning there are evidences of sustained community transmission beyond capacity.

Land, domestic flights and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended on March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020. However, President Duterte reassured the public that all precautionary measures shall be subject to reassessment after seven (7) days upon the issuance of the resolution.

“You know, we will review. I have imposed upon the Cabinet members and the entire members of this Task Force to be present everyday. I know that it is hard for them. It is really an imposition. It’s quite maybe a burden but ganun rin ang sinabi ko sa kanila,” said the President.

Mass public transport such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT), the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) shall continue its operations. In the process, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) was tasked to issue guidelines in order to ensure that social distancing measures are being implemented properly.

Also, two (2) of the precautionary measures taken were the extension of class suspension in Metro Manila until April 12, 2020 and the suspension of government work under the Executive Branch up until the same date. Government offices under the Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch are expected to adopt the same policy.

“Provided, that all students shall continue to fulfill their educational requirements during said period. Anong ibig sabihin? Kung wala kang magawa, ang sabi ng gobyerno mag-aral ka. Pero ito, hindi ko inaasahan susunod — susundin ninyo,” the Chief Executive said.

“But for you guys who really want to improve your lot, better make use of the time to study,” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall issue guidelines to safeguard the welfare of the private employees and has encouraged private companies to implement flexible working schedules.

Law enforcing bodies such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are exempted from work suspension as they shall continue to provide assistance to government agencies and local government units (LGUs) in monitoring the situation amid the health emergency.

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