Mayors want Metro Manila under GCQ until Dec. 31

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MANILA, Oct 19 (Mabuhay) — The mayors of the 17 cities and municipality in Metro Manila recommended staying with a general community quarantine (GCQ) status for the rest of the year, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Monday.

In a virtual presser, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia said the Metro Manila Council (MMC) — composed of Metro Manila mayors and national government officials — have agreed to a continued GCQ instead of recommending a downgrade to the less stringent modified community quarantine (MGCQ), in a meeting over the weekend.

“Mag-stick talaga tayo na hanggang Dec. 31, GCQ ang buong National Capital Region (NCR) pa rin (We’ll stick to a GCQ until Dec. 31 for the whole NCR),” Garcia said.

He said the recommendation, still subject to the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), was thought to be the better option as it would allow the gradual reopening of the economy.

“Mahirap na i-MGCQ mo ng 100 percent saka mo babawasan. Magkakaroon ng resistance ‘yan at mahirap i-control. Unlike naka-GCQ tayo then gradually tayo nagi-increase ng capacity (It’s going to be hard to move to an MGCQ then we add some restrictions. There will be resistance and it will be hard to control. Unlike a GCQ where we can gradually relax restrictions),” Garcia said.

For areas with a high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections, he said the local government units (LGU) will still have the authority to impose localized lockdowns.

“Binibigyan pa rin ng authority ang ating mga mayors na pag sa tingin nila medyo dumadami ang cases, pwede nilang i-lockdown. Sinusuportahan ng IATF-EID ‘yan (Authority is still given to mayors — when they see that they have increasing cases of Covid-19, they can impose a localized lockdown. That’s supported by the IATF-EID),” Garcia said.

He said the number of active Covid-19 cases in the NCR has gone down, even though the national government has allowed the relaxation of several quarantine restrictions such as the reopening and expanded capacity of business establishments.

“Nasa 6,000 na lang po mahigit ang active cases. Iyan po ay nagsimula ng 20,000. So, just imagine, more than 70 percent na ang nabawas sa active cases (Around 6,000 is what we have now for Covid-19 active cases. That’s from 20,000. Just imagine, it has gone down by more than 70 percent),” Garcia said.

He noted the improvement came about as more people become more responsible, adhere to health protocols, and learn more about the pandemic.

“Ang nakikita namin dito kaya bumababa ang numero natin kahit paunti-unti ang pagbubukas ng ating ekonomiya ay dahil natututo na ang mga tao, nagiging responsable na ang ating mga kababayan sa health protocols (What we’re seeing is the numbers are going down even as we slowly reopen the economy because people are learning, our fellow Filipinos are becoming more responsible with regards to health protocols),” Garcia said.

During the meeting, he said the MMC has also agreed to recommend adjusting the curfew hours in Metro Manila from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., except in Navotas City, allowing persons 18 to 65 years old to go outside their residences, and increasing the capacity of churches to 30 percent.

“These three major recommendations are dependent on the approval of the IATF,” Garcia said.

He said the adjustment on the age allowed to go out of their residences in Metro Manila is aimed to help boost the economy as more businesses open.  (MNS)

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