Is Metro Manila staying under GCQ?

    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Screengrab from PCOO)

    MALACAÑANG yesterday urged the public to continue to be “homeliners” as presidential spokesman Harry Roque noted more people going out on the streets, traffic build-up and mass gatherings in Metro Manila even while the region remains under general community quarantine (GCQ).

    Roque reminded everyone that all existing community quarantines imposed all over the country remain in effect as the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has yet to give its final recommendation to President Duterte.

    The GCQ is in effect in the National Capital Region (NCR)/Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4-A), Central Visayas (Region 7), Pangasinan province, and the cities of Zamboanga, Davao, Cebu and Mandaue, while the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) is in effect in other provinces and cities of the country until June 15.

    Roque reiterated that current data on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases show that Metro Manila and Cebu City continue to record the highest number of cases, a critical factor which would take center stage when IATF members meet again today (Monday) before they meet with the President in the afternoon.

    Roque has said that data covering Metro Manila and Cebu City does not suggest that it can be downgraded to the more relaxed MGCQ and allow the opening of churches the gathering of up to 50 percent of the capacity of the venue or the increasing of public transportation capacity.

    “Iyong numero talaga ng Metro Manila atsaka ng Cebu ay parang hindi pa akma na magbukas nang ganiyan (The figures for Metro Manila and Cebu are not appropriate for the opening of such establishments or eusmpion of operations),” Roque said.

    He repeated that the IATF recommendation and subsequently the decision of the President will be based on science, including the number of current COVID cases, critical care capacity of local governments to handle and attend to the patients, and the economy.
    President Duterte is expected to address the nation on Monday evening.

    Roque noted that in the last few days, more and more people have been going out even if their areas are still under GCQ.

    He said at present, he is already experiencing traffic now when going to Malacañang in Manila from his home in Quezon City. He said his previous 20-minute travel now is taking longer and sometimes making him late for work or his appointments.

    “Ako naman po, talagang nananawagan kaunting kooperasyon po. Iyong mga huling araw, kahapon, mayroon na naman pong nagtipon-tipon, hindi po natin tinututulan ang ating mga karapatan pero sa panahon po ng COVID (I am calling for some cooperation. In these last few days, like yesterday (Saturday), there had been some gatherings. We are not curtailing one’s rights but there is still COVID),” Roque said.

    “Ngayon sa panahon na nahihirapan na nga tayo na umusad dahil hindi pa rin napapababa iyong datos ng mga nagkakasakit… Please lang po, homeliners muna po uli (We are having difficulties to move forward as we have not reduced the data on the number of infected …Please, let us continue to be homeliners),” he said.

    The 17 mayors of Metro Manila are ready to comply with President Duterte’s decision on what community quarantine to impose in the NCR, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said on Sunday.

    The MMC is composed of 17 mayors in 16 cities and one municipality. It is the region’s the governing and policy-making body.

    Garcia said all the mayors have unanimously agreed to let the IATF decide on the issue.

    “We all know that IATF is a composition of experts – economic, health, and enforcement, so we really trust of the wisdom of the members of the group,” he said.

    Garcia said the mayors met on Saturday evening but did not send any recommendation to the IATF.

    Joint Task Force COVID 19 chief Lt. Gen. Guillemo Eleazar wants to require all domestic passengers of commercial ships and airlines to produce medical clearance certificate (MCC) before they are allowed to board.

    Eleazar said he has submitted his recommendation to the IATF.

    “I recommended to the IATF for its implementation,” said Eleazar, the concurrent PNP deputy chief for operations, referring to the “no MCC, no boarding” scheme. The MCC will be issued by the health office of a city or town.

    Eleazar said he proposed the measure after a recent dialogue with airline industry authorities and government security agencies for sea and air travels and representatives from local government units. – With Victor Reyes and Noel Talacay