Metro mayors to appeal order reopening cinemas
n a radio interview aired yesterday morning, Metro Manila Council (MMC) chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the mayors are planning to appeal the directive to reopen the cinemas.
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Metro mayors to appeal order reopening cinemas

Ralph Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila mayors urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to reconsider the government’s move to reopen cinemas, saying the local chief executives were not properly consulted.

In a radio interview aired yesterday morning, Metro Manila Council (MMC) chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the mayors are planning to appeal the directive to reopen the cinemas.

Olivarez said that he already talked with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos, and has worked on the appeal.

The local chief executive also bared that the mayors were not properly consulted on the specifics of the order.

“We know that the inside of cinemas is enclosed. The gathering inside is more than an hour and the space is air-conditioned,” he said.

Starting Monday, the IATF allowed the reopening of traditional cinemas in general community quarantine areas.

He also voiced apprehension on the decision of the IATF to reopen video game arcades, saying spaces could be too close.

Meanwhile, the 50 percent capacity of religious gatherings was approved by all mayors, he said.

Some senators have also expressed apprehension over the decision of the IATF to allow the reopening of cinemas and other select establishments.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, one of four senators who survived COVID-19, said the decision was quite “scary” as he noted that the US and Europe recorded their second surge after their health protocols were relaxed.

“It’s scary because I’ve been hit by COVID-19 so I know the feeling of a COVID survivor. In Europe and the US, they had a second surge, they relaxed protocols and because of that they continued face-to-face schooling, coffee shops opened and suddenly the number increased, scary,” Zubiri said in Filipino in an interview over dwIZ. He added that the government should “speed up the rollout of vaccines first before we relax our protocols.”

He, however, acknowledged the economy has suffered a lot due to the pandemic.

“The problem is that our economy is affected. It’s a matter of balance,” he added.

“For me, cinemas should not have 50 percent capacity. It’s still scary. In cinemas, 50 percent capacity is considered a bit full that if you cough then there is danger of passing the virus.,” he pointed out.

“Also in churches, we love to greet ‘peace be with you,’ you are passing on something else. I guess we really need to do speed up roll out of the vaccine,” Zubiri emphasized.

Sen. Grace Poe said the government is trying to balance the economic aspect and the safety of Filipinos.

“You know that is balancing our economy and health safety,” said Poe.

She, however, noted that the establishments should make sure proper arrangements have been set up to ensure health protocols are followed.

“What do the establishments do for safety? For example, many of us are excited to watch movies, what the cinemas have so far done so they have a new aircon filtration system. I know there is social distancing but the air you breathe is still recycled, They said there are filters to filter the dirt. We want to know those things for the confidence of our people,” Poe noted.

Poe, who served as chair of the Movie And Television Review And Classification Board, said she knows that the movie industry has been affected as some producers, actors and personnel have approached her. “I know that. I have friends there, I can hear their grievances but they also understand the situation.”

In churches, Poe said the places should have proper air-ventilation. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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