By John Ezekiel J. Hirro

President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thurday that Metro Manila and five other areas would shift to the less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1.

Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions, as well as the provinces of Pangasinan and Albay, will also be placed under GCQ, he said in an address broadcast over state television.

The rest of the country will be placed under modified general community quarantine.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said domestic flights would be allowed between GCQ areas using a “hub-and-spoke” system.

On May 26, the Metro Manila Council unanimously voted for the National Capital Region to shift to GCQ to “jumpstart the economy” while still prioritizing public health.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases backed the council’s recommendation, with a few changes.

The country is expected to implement lockdowns by smaller zones in June, to allow more businesses and establishments to operate.