At least four Metro Manila mayors on Sunday expressed their support for an extension of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the capital region to sustain the gains made against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to a “24 Oras Weekend” report by Mav Gonzales, the 17 mayors of the National Capital Region (NCR) are convening on Sunday night to discuss quarantine restrictions ahead of the expiration of the GCQ on September 30.
Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco said he wants GCQ to be extended because NCR is “not yet ready” to downgrade to the more relaxed modified GCQ (MGCQ).
“Dapat matuto tayo sa nakaraan. Hindi pa ready NCR for GCQ, tapos pinilit, then bumalik lang tayo sa MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine),” he said.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said he wants cases to drop even further before loosening quarantine restrictions.
“Under GCQ, San Juan is experiencing a steady drop in active cases. In fact, only 297 as of September 24. This means that all of our interventions to bring down the number of cases are working,” he said.
“People are also becoming more disciplined and are adjusting to imposed health protocols. I would prefer to see this number go even lower before we shift to MGCQ so as not to waste all that we have gained. Better to shift to MGCQ slowly but surely,” he added.
Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano said he and other mayors are leaning towards recommending a GCQ extension “so we can maintain the gains on the fight versus COVID-19 the last few weeks.”
He added that the mayors will also “continue to evaluate how we can lift various regulations and continue to allow industries to open up.”
“The NCR will always act as one as our citizens work and live across many NCR cities,” he said.
Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce, for his part, said he favors “extension of GCQ with a little more easing up of control on businesses.”
“The number of COVID-19-positive in the NCR is still high and we really should not put down our guards otherwise all our efforts put to waste. On the other hand, we really should do all possible means to bring this ailing economy back to its prosperous form,” he said.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said data show that the GCQ in Metro Manila should be maintained.
“Base sa presentation ng technical working group sa data analytics noong meeting namin noong nakaraang Thursday, lumalabas sa data nila na i-maintain ang GCQ sa Metro Manila. Ang ating mga economic managers ay sinasabi na baka pu-puwedeng mag-MGCQ na,” he said.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier urged a shift to MGCQ, saying the country has learned how to manage the spread of COVID-19.
The Philippines has recorded 304,226 infections as of Sunday afternoon, still the highest across Southeast Asia.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver his weekly address to the nation on Monday. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News