IATF for keeping GCQ in NCR

Published July 30, 2020, 2:14 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will recommend to the Office of the President the extension of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) after July 31. 

A member of the police manning a checkpoint asks to see the quarantine pass of a resident in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16, 2020, after the local government reimposed a lockdown in the city due to increased COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Ang IATF nag-meeting na at ang irerekomenda sa Office of the President ay i-maintain yung GCQ sa Metro Manila. Of course, ‘yan ‘yung rekomendasyon ng IATF (The IATF already had a meeting and will recommend to the Office of the President keeping the GCQ in Metro Manila. Of course, that is the recommendation of the IATF),” said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim in an interview over DZBB on Thursday. 

“Nothing is final. Siyempre depende kung a-aprobahan ni Presidente ‘yan. Pero as far as the IATF is concerned, ang irerekomenda namin sa ating Pangulo ay i-maintain ‘yung GCQ category ng Metro Manila (Of course it still depends on whether the President will approve that. But as far as the IATF is concerned, what we will recommend to our President is to maintain the GCQ category of Metro Manila),” he added. 

Lim said Metro mayors, who composed the Metro Manila Council (MMC), only follow whatever decision that the IATF has come up with. 

But Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she was one of the Metro Manila mayors who recommended keeping the NCR under GCQ. 

“I’m not familiar with all the numbers… if how other mayors gave their recommendation. But personally, my recommendation was to maintain our GCQ status,” she said in mixed English and Filipino, noting that they made the voting during “previous correspondence.” 

The MMDA chair said there was no recommendation from any of the mayors to return to the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). 

“Kagabi lang kausap namin ‘yung mga mayors with some IATF members, ka meeting namin sila, walang namang pinag-usapan na ganun (Last night we talked to the mayors with some IATF members, we had a meeting with them, and that was not discussed),” he added. 

The MMDA had earlier stressed that the MMC is just a recommendatory body, and that the decision on the quarantine status will still depend on the IATF. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Wednesday that President Duterte was expected to announce the new quarantine status Thursday. 

In case the GCQ status in the NCR will be retained, Lim said the mayors have the responsibility to monitor their respective barangays and take the necessary steps to curb the spread of the disease. 

“‘Yung papel ng ating mga local chief executive ay talagang importante. ‘Yung responsibilidad na pangalagaan ‘yung LGU nila (The role of our local chief executives is really important. It is their responsibility to take care of their LGU),” he said. 

He added that the mayors have the options to tighten their quarantine measures in their respective city’s or impose localized lockdowns. 

Meanwhile, Mayor Belmonte also bared that the meeting of the Metro Manila mayors was held Wednesday night. It was attended by testing czar Vince Dizon and National Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. 

“Ang pinag-usapan po kagabi ay patungkol po doon sa mga pagbabago na pino-propose po ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) patungkol po sa Internet cafés, gyms, curfew hours, at sa mga liquor bans [What we discussed Wednesday night was the changes being proposed by DTI regarding Internet cafes, gyms, curfew hours, and liquor ban],” Belmonte said. 

Belmonte added that the Metro mayors asked about clarification for various issues and shared their suggestions to each other. 

“We would like as much as possible that all are policies are the same because we are one contiguous territory, and it would be confusing to our constituents if each city has different policies,” she said. 

“And so we try to make sure that all the policies that we propose ay nagsasangayon po ang lahat [are agreed upon by all of us],” she added.