Malacañang on Thursday said Metro Manila would either retain its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) classification or revert to the slightly less stringent modified ECQ (MECQ) after Aug. 20.

In a virtual presser, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was expected to announce the new classifications on Friday.

“There’s a tentative Talk to the People on Friday, I think we expect the president to announce it unless he will give authorization to have it announced earlier,” Roque said.

Metro Manila has been under ECQ since Aug. 6 due to the emergence of cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant, which is more transmissible.

“Dalawang option lang naman po iyan, mananatili ang ECQ in which case ang tanong, mayroon bang pang-ayuda, or ibababa po sa MECQ.” Roque said.

The Palace spokesman earlier said that the availability of funds to be used for financial assistance played a huge part in the imposition of ECQ in Metro Manila, which has more than 13 million residents.

Cash aid in ECQ areas amounts to P1,000 per individual or a maximum of P4,000 per family. John Ezekiel J. Hirro