Malacañan Palace on Wednesday clarified that the entire Philippines remained under different quarantine restrictions as confusion began to emerge on government efforts to relax the lockdown.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said areas previously announced as no longer under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ and general community quarantine (GCQ) have been placed under a new category: “modified GCQ.”

In a press briefing, Roque said there was an “honest mistake” when Resolution No. 35 of the Interagency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases indicated that some areas were no longer under any quarantine category.

Roque said this was all part of a gradual transition (unti-unti, hinay-hinay, dahan-dahan) to a “new normal” from restrictive lockdown regulations that had choked the domestic economy.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he allowed his signature to be used on the (IATF) resolution on the understanding that only transition guidelines would be included, and not specific areas.

The Palace on Tuesday placed Metro Manila, Cebu City and Laguna under a modified EC until May 31.

READ: Metro Manila, Laguna, Cebu City under ‘modified’ ECQ up to May 31

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said local government executives didn’t want to be removed from quarantine restrictions until it was sure Covid-19 had been eliminated.

Duque likened the quarantine measures to a basketball game under a “never-ending overtime.”

“Our enemy is like a zombie. They keep coming back,” he said. (