Palace: Metro Manila mayors recommend 'stricter' GCQ
In this photo taken May 6, 2020, residents of Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City do their grocery before their barangay will be placed under a one-week total lockdown from May 7 to 13.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Palace: Metro Manila mayors recommend 'stricter' GCQ
Alexis Romero ( - August 17, 2020 - 9:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila mayors have recommended the easing of the quarantine classification of the capital region but have also called for strict measures aimed at containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the mayors were in favor of placing Metro Manila under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) but agreed it should not be as lenient as the scenario before the imposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The government placed Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal under MECQ from August 4 to 18 after doctors groups called on the government to impose a two-week lockdown in Mega Manila so it can enhance its strategies against the pandemic.

The capital region and the four nearby provinces, which contribute about two thirds of the country's economic output, used to be under GCQ. Before the imposition of MECQ, the government allowed some non-essential businesses to resume operations in GCQ areas as it sought to revive the pandemit-hit economy while safeguarding public health.

"I can confirm that the recommendation of mayors is GCQ but the GCQ that was implemented in June, which is stricter than the eventual GCQ being implemented now. The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease) listened to them intently and it will be incorporated in their recommendation to the president," Roque said.

"Let’s just say , the recommendation of the IATF and Metro Manila mayors to the president was unanimous," he added.

Duterte is expected to announce the updated quarantine classifications later Monday night. Roque noted that Metro Manila constitutes one geographic unit and should remain under a single classification.

"The classification was thoroughly discussed by the IATF and it was based on what we call the case doubling rate, the clusters of COVID cases in different areas and the critical care capacity," Roque said.

"Now, so far, our case doubling rate has not worsened and as of today, August 17, we inaugurated a 250-bed capacity at the East Avenue Medical Center that will cater exclusively to COVID patients. Our critical care capacity improved and is no longer in the danger level," he added. 

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