City IATF spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap during a live briefing.

The local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will no longer appeal to the national task force for Puerto Princesa City’s downgrade to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), after Malacañang announced the extension until the end of June its current Moderate Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status.

However, the lifting of some restrictions that were already announced by the local government ahead of Malacanang’s issuance of new quarantine classifications will remain, according to local IATF spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap.

Atty. Yap explained that their resolution recommending GCQ for the city was worded as an appeal to the national government. He added that the city IATF decided that there will be no need anymore to make another appeal.

“It was agreed upon by the [city] IATF. Not to seek further appeal. Kung ‘yon ang naging decision ng national IATF, unless mabasa ng national IATF ang appeal at magbago ang isip nila, tayo ay under MECQ pa rin,” he said in a live briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

When asked if delays or miscommunication resulted in the extension of the MECQ, since the city IATF submitted their request before June 15, Yap stated that he believes there was no delay on the part of the city government.

“Not a timing problem kasi Sunday pa lang nag-meeting ang local IATF. Pero siguro nag-desisyon ang national IATF na manatili pa rin tayo sa MECQ kasi kung titingnan natin ang data ng Puerto Princesa, ang daily attack rate nasa 6.76% na. Ang ICU beds natin mataas ang occupancy rate. Tayo na rin yata ang pinakamataas ang attack rate sa MECQ provinces,” he added.

More relaxed MECQ policies

Meanwhile, Yap said the city government will do away with the barangay wide checkpoints established during the last two weeks of MECQ and will ease curfew hours to start at 9 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

The new guidelines will take effect starting Wednesday, he added.

Barbershops and beauty salons will be allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity. Religious gatherings will also be allowed at also 30 percent capacity.

The city government is also waiting for the approval of the 7-day extension of the inbound travel ban, which Yap called a “transitional” travel ban. He explained that the IATF will look into eventually lifting the travel ban to accommodate Palawan locals coming home, but with mandatory quarantine requirements.