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Retailers, hotels push for shift to MGCQ soon
“We want the economy, not only hotel and restaurant industry, to open up, but all types of businesses to open up because the more people have jobs, the more the economy opens, the more people would take tourism. You need money of course and resources to visit these destinations,” Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP) president Eugene Yap said.
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Retailers, hotels push for shift to MGCQ soon

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Groups representing retailers, information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) firms and hotels and restaurants are advocating a shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as soon as possible, along with intensified vaccine information campaigns for a quicker economic recovery.

Speaking at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP)’s webinar yesterday, various groups reiterated their call to relax the quarantines and allow more people to have a source of livelihood.

“We want the economy, not only hotel and restaurant industry, to open up, but all types of businesses to open up because the more people have jobs, the more the economy opens, the more people would take tourism. You need money of course and resources to visit these destinations,” Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP) president Eugene Yap said.

“Definitely, the only way forward is really for us to reopen our economy. We are least performing among our neighboring countries. This is a worldwide phenomenon, even big economies (are affected). But what we are seeing here is we are too restrictive with our lockdowns,” Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) president Rosemarie Ong said.

“There is a high level of consciousness among our people already in terms of the safety protocols, health protocols that need to be done and we can continue doing all of that in an MGCQ, in a more relaxed level. But the other benefits of a more relaxed level will help in reviving and reopening the economy. I am supportive of moving to a more relaxed level of quarantine,” Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) chairperson Lito Tayag said.

Clarify IATF rules

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it would clarify if some rules enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) would still be in effect amid differing opinions and even protests against some of them.

Previously, the IATF announced it would allow movie theaters, gaming arcades, driving schools, social events, libraries, museums and tourism attractions like parks, theme parks and historical sites to resume operations in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas like Metro Manila.

It also declared that 50 percent seating capacity would be allowed in churches and cinemas.

The announcement was met by protests from the Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of Metro Manila mayors, citing concerns that it could cause faster COVID-19 transmission.

“Does it hold that it be allowed or not because it is GCQ, because it was passed by IATF?” MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos asked during the online Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum yesterday.

Parañaque City mayor and MMC chairman Edwin Olivarez said the council would assure the public of a common goal in creating pandemic response policies of each local government in the capital region. – Ghio Ong

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