Malacañang on Friday said the country could be under relaxed quarantine restrictions by April as the country seeks to reopen its economy.

“Alam ninyo naman po ang ating classification ay para po sa isang buwan. So I think ang tinitingnan natin ay kung pupuwede na tayong lalong magbukas pa ng ekonomiya pagdating po ng buwan ng Abril, dahil ngayon po ay kalagitnaan na ng buwan ng Marso,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual briefing.

Roque made the statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte, who had been insistent that he would only ease the country’s quarantine protocols when the vaccine rollout reaches the general public, said the economy could get reopened soon so people could go to work and earn money.

“I have to reopen the economy. I have given a timetable, just weeks… The economy must be opened in a short while. Kaya kung paspasan na ‘yang bakuna, tutal umabot na. If it reaches the big cities, okay na,” Duterte said on Thursday.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, four million Filipinos were unemployed in January 2021, giving the country an 8.7-percent unemployment rate.

The country has so far received 1.25 million doses of two-dose Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac.

Some 114,615 Filipinos have been vaccinated so far. John Ezekiel J. Hirro