VICE President Leni Robredo said the voices of local government executives on the lockdown level in their jurisdictions should ring loudest when the Executive decides on the next community quarantine category for the various provinces in the country.
Noting that local government leaders know the situation on the ground, Robredo backed the call of Metro Manila mayors to extend the implementation of a general community quarantine (GCQ) throughout the Christmas season to preclude the possible surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections once stay-home orders are relaxed.
“Mas dapat pakinggan iyong mga local officials kasi sila iyong nakakaalam kung ano iyong sitwasyon on the ground. Hindi puwedeng one-size-fits-all (We have to listen more to local officials because they’re the ones who know the situation on the ground. It can’t be one-size-fits-all),” Robredo said.
Robredo said local officials whose areas have high cases of community transmission should be heard “because they’ll be the ones who will suffer if we do not listen to them.”
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief Carlito Galvez Jr. last week said Metro Manila mayors want the region to remain under GCQ throughout the holiday season.
Robredo’s statement came a day before President Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine levels, if any, for Metro Manila and the rest of the country for the whole month of December.
The President is also expected to make public new protocols in anticipation of a possible spike in COVID-19 cases due to the expected increase in mass gatherings and activities because of the holiday season.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that while November 30, or Bonifacio Day, is a regular non-working holiday, the President is expected to deliver his weekly “Talk to the People” speech and his decision on the quarantine status.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is set to meet first before it submits its final recommendations on the quarantine levels to the President in the evening. Duterte’s talk to the people is usually scheduled after his Monday night meeting with his Cabinet officials.
Metro Manila along with the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur and the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban and Iligan has been under general community quarantine (GCQ) from November 1 to 30, while the rest of the country is under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
On November 20, Davao City was placed under the GCQ from MGCQ due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Galvez said that except for a few places, like Davao City, there has been a downtrend in the number of cases in most part of the country over the past weeks, with the number of new cases being limited to less than 2,000 a day. – With Jocelyn Montemayor