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Pres. Duterte, junks MGCQ proposal until the country's COVID-19 vaccination starts


On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte denied the request to put the country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) before the vaccination program for the country COVID-19 has begun, his spokesman said.


"The Chief Executive recognizes the importance of re-opening the economy and its impact on people's livelihoods. However, the President gives higher premium to public health and safety," said Harry Roque.


"Dutere wants vaccination to start the soonest possible time in order to ease the community quarantine," he added.


In March, which marks a year since the country was first put under quarantine, nine out of 17 mayors in the capital region had previously endorsed a move to MGCQ.


Since August 2020, Metro Manila accounts for about a third of the country's gross domestic product has been under the GCQ with tighter lockdowns imposed in previous months as infections with COVID-19 increased.


Since then, 563,456 coronavirus infections have been reported in the Philippines, preventing the economy from completely re-opening.


The nation has yet to obtain any shot of COVID-19 that it hoped would begin its vaccination campaign this month, targeting up to 70 million or two-thirds of the population during the year.


After the country's worst recession on record last year, when it slumped 9.5 percent, the largest downturn in Southeast Asia further delays could derail economic recovery.

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