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Metro Manila mayors agreed on 'flexible MECQ' —Abalos

Mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are recommending the implementation of a 'flexible MECQ' after April 30, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos on Wednesday.

In an interview on Unang Balita, Abalos said the local chief executives discussed during a meeting on Tuesday the different levels of community quarantine protocols, including the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), and the modified ECQ.

“Ang napagkasunduan ng mga alkalde ay parang flexible MECQ. Ang tawag lang nito MECQ with additional business openings [The mayors agreed to impose a flexible MECQ. We just called it MECQ with additional business openings),” he said.

He also said the mayors agreed to shorten the curfew hours starting May to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“Starting po sa May 1, adjusted na po ang curfew. Hindi na po 8 p.m., 10 p.m. na. Iiklian na po ito. From 10:00 to 4:00 [Starting May, the curfew will be adjusted. Instead of 8 p.m., the curfew will start at 10 p.m. and will end at 4 a.m.),” he said.

He explained that under ECQ, only essential businesses are allowed to operate while under MECQ, only a limited number of businesses are prohibited to operate.

Abalos said Metro Manila mayors have agreed to a "flexible MECQ" as they considered two factors: the type of business that would be allowed to operate and implementation of border control.

He said there will be additional types of businesses that will be allowed to operate under the proposed flexible MECQ. Among the businesses that would be allowed to operate are those involved in construction activities and others that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would deem appropriate.

Aside from the DTI, the list would also be reviewed by the Department of Health and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The MMDA chair also a form of border control will also be implemented and that minimum safety protocols will remain in place.

As to the implementation of curfew hours, Abalos said this has been revised.

He underscored that the recommendation of the local chief executives will be forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which will then submit a formal recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.

Duterte is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday.

Abalos pointed out that the number of COVID-19 cases has gone down and the Metro Manila leaders would want to maintain the trend.

Abalos said they are also amenable to place NCR under MECQ for two more weeks.

Asked if affected residents could expect financial support from the government, Abalos said, "Medyo hirap na ang gobyerno (the government is in a bind)."  -- with Joviland Rita/BAP/KBK, GMA News