Metro Manila mayors want NCR to remain under GCQ until end of year
By Ella Dionisio
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) wants the National Capital Region (NCR) to remain under general community quarantine until the end of this year.
In a press briefing, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said the 17 mayors are not looking towards easing community quarantine until December 31 since the economy can adjust without lowering the restriction to modified GCQ.
“We will stick that (GCQ) will be until December 31 in Metro Manila because when it comes to the economy, we can adjust the capacity… it will be harder for us to go MGCQ and full capacity and then suddenly we will lessen (the allowed capacity), better if from GCQ, we will slowly adjust,” Garcia explained.
“As the number of COVID-19 cases go down, we open the businesses gradually,” said Garcia.
He said the mayors unanimously agreed on the matter.
“We should balance, health and economy at the same time,” the MMDA official said.
Metro Manila is under GCQ until October 31.
Last Sunday, Garcia said the MMC came up with three recommendations to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious (IATF).
One of the recommendations is shortening the curfew hours to 12 midnight to 4 am except in Navotas City where curfew hours will remain from 8 pm to 5 am.
“This is what our economic team in IATF sees as something that can help our economy. The 12pm to 4am curfew will help establishments, like restaurants. More people will dine,” he said.
As to the curfew hours in Navotas, Garcia said this is what mayor Toby Tiangco wants since his area is more of a residential side and there are less commercial establishments.
“We are preventing people from loitering because it will not help the economy and will just add to the problem… We respect (Mayor Tiangco) and we agreed that the configuration in Navotas is different in Makati or Taguig… His city will be more orderly if they will maintain the 8pm to 5am curfew,” he added.
Another recommendation from the MMC is allowing NCR residents aged 18 to 65 years old to go outside their residences.
Garcia said those who are 18 years old are already allowed to work while those who are aged 15 and below will only go out of their house for leisure.
“We are avoiding the kind of leisure that will not help the economy… Opening the economy does not mean that the virus is already gone,” he said.
According to Garcia, adjustment on the age allowed to go out of their residences in Metro Manila is aimed to boost the economy as more businesses open.
He said the reason the number of COVID-19 cases in NCR is slowly going down is because people are responsible in observing health protocols.
The mayors’ last recommendation is increasing the capacity of churches to 30 percent.
Garcia said the MMC is also eyeing on adjusting the curfew hours to 12am to 3pm for the annual Simbang Gabi, or dawn masses which usher in the Christmas holidays.
“Hopefully we can resolve this by December 1 but the suggestion is adjusting the curfew to give to the Simbang Gabi as their capacity is only 30 percent so not everyone can be accommodated,” he said.
“We will release guidelines by the end of November,” he added.
Garcia said their three major recommendations are subject for approval by the IATF. DMS