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DTI to push for MGCQ in Metro Manila if cases drop
“Yes, if the numbers would show continued improvement in COVID cases, the economic team as well as most members of IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) are ready to support the deescalation to MGCQ,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters.
Edd Gumban, file

DTI to push for MGCQ in Metro Manila if cases drop

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said yesterday it would push for a shift to the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for Metro Manila by February if the trend in COVID-19 cases improves.

“Yes, if the numbers would show continued improvement in COVID cases, the economic team as well as most members of IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) are ready to support the deescalation to MGCQ,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters.

At present, Metro Manila is under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Lopez said the government is continuing the gradual and safe reopening of the economy with strict compliance to health protocols as this has been seen as the right approach.

With this approach, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has gone down to less than 2,000 a day by December from 4,000 per day when the government had just started to allow more businesses to reopen, he said.

He also said no big holiday surge in COVID-19 cases has been seen so far.

“The key is compliance of people to health protocols. We should continue with this right formula, the right balance,” he said.

“We are also concerned that we should do this carefully because we do not want to lose our gains and go back to stricter lockdown. This will cripple the economy and displace workers,” he added.

Last Friday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the IATF has further eased age restrictions by allowing children as young as 10 to step outside of their homes in MGCQ areas starting Feb.1, as part of efforts to give the economy a much needed boost.

For those in GCQ areas, local government units have the option to adopt the policy if they see it fit.

At present, only those who are 15 to 65 years old are allowed by the IATF to go out.

Lopez said the reason behind allowing even children who are 10 years old to go out as long as accompanied by a parent or older family member is to help increase consumption as businesses’ sales are still far from pre-pandemic levels.

He said in an interview with dzRH yesterday that businesses in the services sector, such as retailers and restaurants, are expected to immediately benefit from the further easing of age restrictions.

When sales of these businesses improve, those engaged in manufacturing and agriculture are also expected to gain as they have to produce goods needed by retailers, he said.

In line with the gradual approach in reopening the economy, he said the government would later on consider expanding further the age segment allowed to go out to cover those who are five years old up to 75 years old.

“The IATF has adopted the phase of risk management and no longer risk avoidance, as espoused by the economic team. That means gradual easing to revive an impaired economy and not worsen the displacement of more workers,” he said.

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