17 Metro Manila mayors ''unanimously'' agree to recommend GCQ
The 17 mayors of Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Tuesday “unanimously” agreed to recommend placing the region to general community quarantine (GCQ) once the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) lapses on May 31.
According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia, this will be recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Garcia said despite shifting National Capital Region (NCR) to GCQ by June 1, restrictions and limitations will remain.
“Unanimously, all NCR mayors are acceptable to the place Metro Manila under GCQ but still we will wait for the decision of the IATF. Whatever decision that they will do, definitely we will follow and all mayors will be ready,” Garcia said in a virtual presser.
Garcia said the MMDA and MMC members have also agreed on some measures that will prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Under the GCQ, local government units are still allowed to impose a lockdown on specific barangays if needed, particularly “problematic” areas with high number of COVID-19 cases.
Garcia said mode of transportation in Metro Manila will only be limited to company-provided shuttle services, point-to-point vehicles, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), and tricycles.
Public Utility Buses and jeepneys remain prohibited under GCQ for the safety of the commuters as enforcement of social distancing protocols is not easy to monitor for this kind of transportations.
The MMDA also encourages the use of bicycles as alternative mode of transport.
With 61 routes traversing EDSA, the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is eyeing a rationalization of bus route in the metropolis.
“Rationalized routes will replace old ones. Routes will be shortened to allow faster turnaround of buses,” said Garcia.
In line with this, putting up of footbridges and loading and unloading stations on strategic areas along EDSA is underway.
“This is the right time to change the behavior of the commuters. We need to change everything,” he added.
For coding scheme, Garcia said vehicles carrying more than one passenger, depending on the guidelines of the IATF, are allowed to ply the streets, exempted from the existing number coding scheme.
“This is for motorists to maximize the vehicle’s seating capacity,” said Garcia.
However, the MMDA has yet to craft a resolution on this subject before its implementation.
Garcia said medical frontliners are exempted from the modified number coding scheme and they will have the privilege to use their coded-vehicles without being apprehended when the modified number coding scheme is implemented in the NCR on June 1.
“The MMDA understands the plight of the medical frontliners so we want to assist them during this challenging time. We hope that by exempting them from the modified number coding scheme, we are helping to provide ease and convenience to their daily transport,” Garcia said.
Under GCQ, Garcia said restrictions and other safety protocols in the “New Normal” such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks are remain enforced.
“The MMC and MMDA will respect whatever the IATF decides,” he said.
The MMC, comprised of the mayors of 16 cities and one municipality, is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA. Ella Dionisio/DMS