Metro Manila mayors to defer to Duterte’s decision on quarantine status

AdChoiceTV News — Metro Manila mayors said on Wednesday that they would defer to the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the next quarantine status to be implemented in the capital region starting May 1.

In a statement, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said that the city mayors also unanimously agreed to adjust curfew hours starting May 1. New curfew hours will be from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., according to the resolution approved Tuesday.

According to Abalos, mayors voted on three proposed quarantine classifications: enhanced community quarantine, modified enhanced community quarantine, and what they called “hybrid” or “flex” modified enhanced community quarantine which includes additional economic and business activities to be classified and approved by the Department of Trade and Industry.

“The MMC just recommends to the IATF. Hence, it is within the purview of President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the next NCR status,” Abalos said of the decision for the next quarantine status.

“Hybrid MECQ is intended to allay the fear of health workers for a possible surge again. That’s why we want to do it gradually. By opening some businesses, we are also addressing the dilemma and hunger of those who lost their jobs,” he said, adding that the third option, hybrid or flex MECQ, was proposed by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Their recommendation has already been submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

However, Abalos added that “all the Metro Manila mayors have agreed not to disclose their recommendation” as he assured that they are ready for whatever quarantine status to be imposed, advising the public to strictly adhere to minimum health standards to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The recommendation was based on data presented by health experts and also from NEDA as presented by Secretary Karl Chua. Through hybrid MECQ, we are hitting the middle ground. There will still be strict border controls to avoid transmission, but at the same time there will also be additional economic activities,” he said.

“All the 17 local chief executives in Metro Manila are ready to implement any community quarantine status, whether it is to ease the quarantine restrictions or extend the modified enhanced community quarantine,” he added. “The mayors don’t want the gains of ECQ and MECQ to be put into waste especially since we’ve seen the downward trend on the growth rate. We are hoping that we can sustain it by our continued unified efforts.”

NCR Plus bubble, composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, has been placed on MECQ until April 30. 

To recall, the MMC decided to implement unified curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting April 12 until the end of MECQ on April 30.

“All local chief executives in Metro Manila have agreed to enact their respective Executive Orders and/or adopt their respective Ordinances for the proper implementation of the standardized and unified curfew hours,” the resolution stated.

To date, 1,013,618 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the Philippines.

Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan

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