President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will be spending the Holy Week in his hometown, Davao City, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte, just like in the previous years, prefers to observe Holy Week with his family.

“I would like to believe that the President will stay in Davao City as usual. ‘Yung mga nakaraang taon ay doon lamang siya sa kaniyang tahanan sa Davao City (In the past years, he just stayed at his home in Davao City),” Andanar said in a virtual Palace press briefing.

The 2021 observance of Holy Week in the Philippines was restricted because of the implementation of the now-defunct enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the highest level of quarantine classification, prompted by the sudden rise in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections last year.

The ECQ enforcement in 2021 prohibited Catholics observing Lent to conduct religious gatherings.

The continued drop in Covid-19 cases this year allowed the government to further relax the restrictions on public movement.

Despite the eased Covid-19 protocols, Andanar reminded the public to continue observing the minimum public health standards during Holy Week.

“The usual, maghugas, mag-mask, mag-social distancing. Kung puwedeng iwasan ang malaking crowd, iwasan natin (As usual, wash your hands, wear mask, and observe social distancing. If you can avoid huge crowd, do it),” he said.

Andanar also advised the public to stay outdoors rather than go to enclosed public spaces.

“Napakalaki ng bansang Pilipinas (There are so many places in the Philippines). We have over 7,600 islands. Kung meron kayong mapupuntahan na outdoor, mas maganda siguro para hindi kayo nakukulong sa loob ng mga lugar, mga espasyo na kaunti ang ventilation (It’s better to go outdoors instead of staying indoors with less ventilation),” Andanar said.

For the first half of April, Metro Manila, as well as 56 other cities and provinces and over 100 component cities and municipalities, are under the most lenient Alert Level 1.

Movement of persons, regardless of age and comorbidities, is allowed in areas placed under Alert Level 1. However, there are still restrictions on crowded and closed spaces and close contact (3Cs) settings.

The rest of the country stays under Alert Level 2.

On Tuesday, Duterte refused to heed calls to further deescalate the alert level status in the country, saying it is not yet doable to implement the proposed “Alert Level 0” since there are still cases of Covid-19 in the country.

From March 30 to April 5, the country reported a total of 2,548 new Covid-19 infections. (PNA)