Mayors have authority to bar minors from malls â Palace
Shoppers at a mall in Metro Manila.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File photo

Mayors have authority to bar minors from malls — Palace

Alexis Romero ( - December 3, 2020 - 5:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila mayors have the authority to bar minors from going to malls as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, Malacañang said Thursday, after some officials expressed differing views on relaxing the age-based movement restriction.

During a meeting of the government's pandemic task force last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said minors may be allowed to enter malls provided they are accompanied by their parents. He said the easing of the movement restriction has to be contained in local ordinances.

However, the Metro Manila Council, which is composed of mayors from the capital region, unanimously voted against allowing minors to go to malls during the holidays because of concerns about the possible surge in COVID-19 infections. The health department was also opposed to the easing because of the possibility of children catching the virus.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said mayors can decide what age group of persons can be allowed to leave their homes.

"The decision of the Metro Manila Council to prohibit those who are 18 and below (from going to malls), that's in line with the discretion given by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) to local governments.

"Well, sorry. It is within the powers of Metro Manila mayors to impose this," Roque said at a press briefing.

Roque advised parents to look for nearby areas that are under the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and check the policies of local governments that have jurisdiction over them. He noted that tourism is allowed for the whole family in places classified as MGCQ.

"That means it's (policy on movement) less controversial when it comes to MGCQ areas but it still depends on the decision of local governments," the Palace spokesman said.

"If allowed (by local governments), they can go to malls...because we need to revive businesses and our countrymen need to work," he added.

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