Malacañang on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte was likely to place the entire archipelago under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by March.

In an interview over PTV-4, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the recent positions made by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the mayors of Metro Manila could help Duterte decide on relaxing quarantine protocols nationwide.

“Sabihin na lang po natin na nagkasundo na iyong IATF na nagrekomenda sa ating presidente na magkaroon na ng MGCQ sa buong Pilipinas at ng mga alkalde sa Metro Manila,” Roque said.

“So, inaasahan naman natin dahil mayroon ng ganitong kasunduan sa panig ng IATF at mga Metro Manila mayors, eh baka naman po sumang-ayon na ang ating presidente.”

Roque said the president would make the decision on Monday, Feb. 22.

Duterte’s decision would be made public by end-February, Roque added.

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier recommended placing the country under MGCQ to reduce hunger and restart jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country has recorded 557,058 Covid-19 cases as of Feb. 19. John Ezekiel J. Hirro