President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assures the Filipino people that the government remains committed in ensuring their...

Posted by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Monday, April 6, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said the government was “inclined” to extend up to April 30, 2020 the enhanced community quarantine in place over Luzon island.

Duterte made the announcement in a late-night television address, after health authorities reported that Covid-19 cases have reached 3,660, with 163 deaths.

But it was not the definite decision awaited by the public, as the lockdown ended its third week.

“We are inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30. Tignan natin (Let’s see),” Duterte said.

The quarantine was initially imposed over Metro Manila on March 15 and then extended to the mainland of Luzon on March 16. It was supposed to end on April 12. Schools were to reopen by April 15.

On Sunday, the task force on top of the Covid-19 response said it was considering recommending at least a 15-day extension of the Luzon-wide enhance community quarantine.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved on Friday five parameters for the lifting, partial lifting, extension or expansion of the quarantine last week.

Duterte started Monday’s address past 10 p.m. by saying he wanted to read the second of his weekly reports to Congress, required by an emergency powers law that gave him billions of pesos to stem the outbreak and provide economic relief.

But the president meandered to different topics such as the drug war, his father’s malaria, praying to only one God, and statements by the “nuisance” presidential candidate Elly Velez Pamatong that Duterte should be arrested as he was not the real president.

Duterte said the P200-billion budget for financial assistance to poor families was not enough and ordered Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to look for more funds, as he agreed with Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla that the middle class also needed some assistance.

He said the Covid-19 problem was worse than war because the enemy was invisible.

Duterte’s report to Congress said the government had released P16.3 billion in cash aid to families under the government’s 4Ps cash transfer program, and to P442 million to displaced or disadvantaged workers. (