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Mayors eye another 15-day ECQ extension in Metro Manila

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The Metro Manila Council may recommend to the government another 15-day extension in the National Capital Region (NCR) of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewed on Unang Balita on Friday, Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, the council's chairman, said the group may formalize the ECQ extension recommendation through a resolution during a virtual meeeting on Saturday.

"Most likely yun ang tinitignan natin, yung magkaroon ng another 15 days extension," Olivarez said, stressing an ECQ extension may be necessary to prevent a "second wave" of COVID-19 infections in the country.

He said they favor a metro-wide extension since the cities and municipalities in Metro Manila are "very interconnected," meaning residents usually live in one city and work in another one.

"Tulad sa amin sa Paranaque, meron kaming mga residente na nagtatrabaho sa Makati. Kung ang Makati ay GCQ (general community quarantine), kami ay ECQ, pano sila makakalagpas papunta dun sa boundary namin?" Olivarez said.

Still, Olivarez said the decision on whether or not to extend the ECQ in Metro Manila will be up to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"Ang nagdi-decide ay IATF. Ang Metro Manila Council ay recommendatory lang po," he said.

Olivarez said the meeting will be held so that all mayors of Metro Manila will have "one stand" regarding the topic.

Composed of mayors of Metro Manila cities and municipalities, the Metro Manila Council is the governing board and policy-making body of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

MMDA chairman Danilo Lim will attend the virtual meeteing.

Sought for comment, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government would look into the ECQ extension recommendation.

"Titingnan po natin 'yan kasi sabi ko nga po, nakabase 'yan sa siyensya, nakabase 'yan sa pagbilis ng pagkalat ng sakit at 'yung kapasidad na magbigay ng critical care," Roque said in an interview on Unang Hirit.

Roque also echoed the remark of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año that some areas in Metro Manila can be placed under general community quarantine for the sake of the country's economy.

"May mga lugar po talaga na puwede nang mag-GCQ dahil kinakailangan na rin naman nating buksan ang ekonomiya," he said.

The ECQ was first declared March 17 covering the entire Luzon. It's been extended in several areas, including Metro Manila, twice or until May 15.  --with Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News

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