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NCR mayors to recommend Alert Level 1 starting March 1 —Olivarez

Mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) have agreed to recommend the de-escalation of the region to Alert Level 1 from Alert Level 2 starting March 1, 2022, the head of the Metro Manila Council said on Wednesday.

“Downgrade to Alert Level 1 starting March 1,” Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told GMA News Online in a text message when asked about the recommendation of the council following their meeting Tuesday night.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.

Based on the MMDA Resolution No. 22-06, the MMC cited the improvement in the COVID-19 situation and high vaccination rate in the NCR for the recommendation.

“...The Metro Manila Council has taken a uniform and united position to urge the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place the NCR under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 Status starting on 01 March 2022,” it said.

It added that the NCR mayors are ready and fully capable of implementing the IATF-prescribed health and safety protocols under the recommended Alert Level 1 status.

At a press conference, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officer-in-charge and general manager Romando Artes said that traditionally, the IATF considers the recommendation by the MMC.

“Traditionally po, sinusundan namn po o pinagbibigyan naman ng IATF ang kahilingan ng Metro Manila mayors,” he said.

(Traditionally, the IATF follows the request of Metro Manila mayors)

According to Artes, most of the restrictions on capacity and travel will be lifted and only the wearing of face masks and social distancing will be maintained under Alert Level 1.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB on Tuesday, Artes said the local government units (LGUs) in the NCR are ready to shift to Alert Level 1.

Artes said the NCR has been successful in implementing COVID-19 response programs.

In an ambush interview in Marikina, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko" Moreno said he voted in favor of the de-escalation, adding that the city is ready.

"In the case of Manila ay kami naman po ay handa, ang aming mga pasilidad ay andyan. Salamat kay Doc Willie, 'yung mga in-advise niyang gamot, tangan-tangan ng Maynila. Ang aming oxygen level reserve ay mataas at ang aming mga doctor at nurse ay malusog so far, ligtas sa kapahamakan," Moreno said.

(In the case of Manila, we are ready. Our facilities are there. Thanks to Doc Willie, the medicines he advised, are in Manila. Our oxygen level reserve is high and our doctors and nurses are healthy and safe.)

"So we are ready," he added.

Also on Tuesday, independent monitoring group OCTA Research said the positivity rate in the NCR has decreased to 4.9%, lower than the recommended 5% of the World Health Organization.

According to OCTA, this is the first time the positivity rate in the NCR decreased to less than 5% since December 26, 2021 prior to the COVID-19 surge caused by the more transmissible Omicron variant.

NCR remained at "low risk" classification for COVID-19 with an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of 2.85 and a reproduction number of 2.85, it added.  —KBK/AOL/RSJ, GMA News