President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called on Filipinos to skip fiesta celebrations, as such gatherings could be spreaders of Covid-19.

The month of May is often dubbed as the fiesta month in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

“Sinasabi ko lang na Mayo, maraming fiesta,” the president said.

“So ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forgo kasi may batas. Forgo to congregate, to crowd and to hold,” he added.

Duterte said he would hold barangay captains accountable for allowing mass gatherings this fiesta season.

“I will hold you responsible for any violation sa mga itong mga batas na hindi natutupad. Batas ito… So you have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover from the onslaught of Covid-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” he added.

During the same address, the president downgraded the community quarantine classification of NCR-Plus to general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions.”

Santiago City, Zamboanga City, Quirino and Ifugao were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until May 31.

Other areas placed under GCQ were Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcay, Batangas, Quezon Province, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City and Lanao del Sur.

The Philippines has tallied 1,131,467 Covid-19 cases as of May 14. John Ezekiel J. Hirro