By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang sees the high chance of Metro Manila transitioning to general community quarantine (GCQ) once the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) ends on May 31.
All 17 Metro Manila Mayors have called for the transition of the National Capital Region (NCR) to GCQ more than two months of being under stricter quarantine measures due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In an interview with ANC, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said a decision can be expected soon since the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will be meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
“Today, IATF is meeting and we expect a decision to be made by the body. It’s very difficult for me to actually speculate because as [the] spokesperson, I have to wait for the collegiate body to decide,” Roque said Wednesday morning.
“But I can quote both [National Action Plan Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año] that chances are we will in fact be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila,” he added.
Roque said that areas in the Philippines under GCQ gave the government a glimpse of what to expect when the quarantine measures in NCR ease up even more.
“Fortunately there are other areas who have been in GCQ and we know already what’s going to happen,” he said.
Transportation and work
Roque urged both the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme as the influx of workers is expected as Metro Manila shifts to GCQ.
“So we are appealing, in fact, to both private and the public sector to ensure this 50-50 workforce,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that work stops because I think by now we’re used to working at home. You’re broadcasting from home. I’m interviewing from home. It can be done,” he added.
Roque said that all modes of transportation will most likely be operational but can only transport 50 percent of its capacity at a time.
“All transportation will be operational but operating on 50 percent capacity which is why it’s important that employers, including government, although everyone will go back to work, still finalize their scheme whereby only 50 percent will actually work on-site and the rest can work from home,” he said.
Metro Manila has been under quarantine since March 15. It was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) the following day and stayed that way until May 15. It transitioned to Modified ECQ on May 16.