By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is “a welcome development” as some industries, businesses, and services will be allowed to operate during this period.
“It’s a welcome development… business will start to flourish,” he told reporters in a phone call Tuesday, May 12.
The local chief executive said thousands of workers in the city were displaced following the implementation of the ECQ. Earlier, he warned that thousands more will be laid off should it be extended.
“Stagnation will not give us results. I would rather our city move on and the city of Manila be given the opportunity to rebuild itself economically,” he added.
Although the city of Manila is not a financial district, it is still a center of commerce because it is where some of the country’s major ports are located, he said. The Manila mayor also said that allowing people to work would lessen their anxiety and the pressure they feel amid the ECQ.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced on Tuesday that all highly urbanized cities of Metro Manila, the municipality of Pateros, Laguna, and Cebu City, that were considered “high risk” areas, will be under MECQ until May 30.
During this period, the government will allow limited movement for essential services, work, and goods; operation of selective manufacturing and processing plants up to maximum of 50 percent workforce and partial operations of government offices, while physical classes will remain suspended.
Roque said that the final list of industries, businesses, and services that will be allowed to operate in MECQ areas may be announced Tuesday or Wednesday.
The presidential spokesman also said that the MECQ is a transition phase to help Filipinos ease into the general community quarantine (GCQ) after about a month. Domagoso on Monday confirmed that he voted in favor of implementing the GCQ in Manila since extending the ECQ would be “unsustainable.”
In preparation for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases in the city with the implementation of the MECQ, the local chief executive said they will intensify their mass testing and contact tracing efforts.
“I would rather have the numbers, as long as it is true, kasi may ginawang effort ang gobyerno, imbis na nangangapa (because it shows that the government is exerting effort, and not just grasping in the dark),” he said.
As of writing, the Manila City government has a 300-per-day testing capacity using both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits and rapid test kits.
Latest data from the city government showed that a total of 4,377 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 12,144 rapid tests have been performed for COVID-19 patients in Manila as of Monday evening.
The Manila mayor also said they will continue conducting cleaning and disinfecting operations in the city in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday night, the Philippine capital now has a total of 912 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 142 recoveries and 84 deaths.