‘Mayors not consulted on looser Alert Level 3’

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
âMayors not consulted on looser Alert Level 3â
Marikina residents are seen in face masks inside the city's public market in this July 28, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Local chief executives in the National Capital Region did not recommend the easing of quarantine restrictions as the NCR shifts to Alert Level 3 beginning tomorrow, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said yesterday.

“First of all, let us clarify. We did not recommend the change in Alert Level status for NCR,” Tiangco said in an interview on Teleradyo. “Our opinion was not even asked. We were not asked what alert level we want.”

Tiangco, however, welcomed the government’s decision to downgrade to the more relaxed Alert Level 3.

Mayors wanted to ease quarantine protocols to revive the economy and help businesses recover from the pandemic, Tiangco said.

He said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases presented data on COVID-19 transmission in the region during a meeting of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Sunday.

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who chairs the MMC, said healthcare workers are not “100 percent confident with easing of quarantine restrictions.”

But he said there is a need to balance the people’s health and the economy.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said while he supported Metro Manila’s shift to Alert Level 3, the easing of restrictions should be done “gradually.”

Zamora made the comment when asked about Malacañang’s announcement that Metro Manila residents who are outside the 18 to 65 age bracket and fully vaccinated individuals, including pregnant women and those with comorbidities, are now allowed for “point-to-point” travel to areas under general community quarantine.

“Remember, it has to be done gradually. We should not rush into easing hastily because we have to continue monitoring the effects of whatever quarantine changes we do in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro also cautioned against easing quarantine restrictions in the region, adding that the government needs to reconcile its data on hospital care utilization.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also said he was not consulted on the government’s decision to scrap the quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers coming from “green list” countries.

Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31 as COVID-19 cases in the region continued to drop.

Under Alert Level 3, business establishments are allowed to operate at 30 percent of indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated and up to 50 percent outdoor capacity. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Neil Jayson Servallos

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