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DOH has final say on alert level – Abalos

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
DOH has final say on alert level â Abalos
During a Laging Handa briefing, Abalos said the decision falls on the DOH, after the government placed Metro Manila under the less strict Alert Level 3 until the end of the month.
Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Following claims that Metro Manila mayors were not consulted on the downgrading of the alert level in the region, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said yesterday the Department of Health (DOH) has the final decision on the matter.

During a Laging Handa briefing, Abalos said the decision falls on the DOH, after the government placed Metro Manila under the less strict Alert Level 3 until the end of the month.

He said the mayors had a meeting with the DOH last Sunday, during which health officials presented data on the matter.

“I would like to point out that on the matter of the alert level, based on the pilot conditions, there is only one agency that would have the final say. It is not the mayors, not the (Department of Trade and Industry.) Only the DOH,” Abalos said in Filipino.

“I am reiterating – the mayors are always united (in our stance) and under the condition of the alert level, the DOH (calls the shots) because they have the epidemiologist, the algorithm group and the health experts,” he added.

Abalos also insisted that the Metro Manila Council, comprised of all Metro Manila mayors, would always defer to the wisdom of the national government.

The chairman added that mayors meet with each other regularly to discuss possible changes in policies, then agree on a united stand.

In the same press briefing, Abalos underscored the need to uphold discipline despite the less stringent alert level.

“The decline of cases is continuous, but the key here is one thing – discipline. We need to do this (downgrade) so the economy would be able to restart. However, health protocols should strictly be followed,” he said.

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