City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who chairs the Metro Manila Council (MMC), said a majority of the mayors preferred their cities to be placed under GCQ, but safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks should still be enforced.
STAR/ File
14 of 17 Metro Manila mayors back shift to GCQ
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fourteen of 17 mayors in Metro Manila are in favor of shifting the National Capital Region to general community quarantine or GCQ by June 1, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez announced yesterday.

Olivarez, who chairs the Metro Manila Council (MMC), said a majority of the mayors preferred their cities to be placed under GCQ, but safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks should still be enforced.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to decide on whether to lift the modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ in Metro Manila.

Olivarez said the MMC, which is the policy-making body of  the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, will hold an online meeting tonight to come up with a single proposal to downgrade the MECQ status into GCQ.

He said the mayors agreed with him that extending the MECQ after May 31 could heavily affect the economy as well as the livelihood of workers and employers.

“Prolonged lockdowns will have severe economic effects,” Olivarez said.

Mayors Rex Gatchalian and Toby Tiangco of Valenzuela and Navotas, respectively, are preparing for a possible transition to GCQ, according to Olivarez.

Gatchalian and Tiangco voted to extend the ECQ during the previous council meeting.

Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III is also backing a shift to GCQ to jumpstart the city’s economy.

Under GCQ, the task force considers the rate of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections as low or moderate. Businesses and public transport are allowed to operate at reduced capacity.

Olivarez said the national government’s efforts to combat COVID-19 helped slow the rate of virus infection.

He urged the public not to be complacent and follow safety protocols, adding that extending MECQ in Metro Manila is still possible.

Metro Manila remains the hardest-hit by COVID-19, accounting for 64 percent of 14,035 cases nationwide as of Sunday.

San Juan wants  to stay under MECQ

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said he believes Metro Manila should remain under MECQ despite the slowed transmission of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“I think we need to stay under MECQ for a little more time to study the transition to GCQ,” Zamora said yesterday.

The city recorded 9.5 days doubling time in COVID-19 transmission.

“It shows that San Juan is slowly flattening the curve. But we can’t be overly confident,” Zamora said. Neil Jayson Servallos, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

METRO MANILA COUNCIL
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