NCR remains under GCQ for 31 more days

Published September 28, 2020, 11:27 PM

by Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos & Gabriela Baron

Metro Manila needs ‘stable decline’ in virus cases for it to shift to MGCQ — Zamora

The National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) will still be under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for the entire month of October. 

In this photo taken on September 19, 2020, people wearing face shields queue up at a public market in Manila. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place Metro Manila and five other areas under GCQ for 31 days effective October 1. 

The other areas are:

1. Batangas province 

2. Tacloban City 

3. Iloilo City 

4. Bacolod City 

5. Iligan City

Lanao del Sur, including Marawi City, will still be under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). 

The rest of the country, meanwhile, is under the Modified GCQ (MGCQ) or the quarantine level with less strict protocols implemented.

Metro Manila, Batangas, and Tacloban were under GCQ during the last quarantine period (September 1 to 30) while Bacolod City and Iligan City were both under the MECQ. 

Iloilo City, meanwhile, also reverted to GCQ after being placed under the MECQ on September 25. 

The MECQ period was supposed to last until October 9.

‘Stable decline’ needed 

As this developed, Metro Manila mayors want a “stable decline” in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases before the National Capital Region (NCR) shifts to MGCQ, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said. 

In an interview over ANC, Zamora credited the “very sharp decline” in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the NCR to their effective interventions. 

“Under GCQ (General Community Quarantine), we’re seeing a sharp decline. That means even if businesses are reopening, a lot of people are out already, the numbers can still go down,” Zamora added. 

“This means our interventions are working, our mass testing is working, our strict implementation of guidelines,” he noted. 

The San Juan chief noted that the public is also now getting used to imposed protocols and realizing “they can actually live with the virus.” 

“We can actually continue to live our lives, go out, work, do business, without having to really worry about getting infected because the numbers are going down,” he added. However, Zamora said that the Metro Manila mayors still want to see a stable decline in COVID-19 cases in the NCR. 

“I think what Metro mayors want to see is a stable decline in the numbers. If and when we see that indeed the numbers continue to go down, then, we can now re-allow some industries and businesses to reopen,” he added. Zamora said the mayors are also “being very careful” to avoid another uptick in the number of active cases like what happened when Metro Manila reverted to MECQ from GCQ last August. 

To date, the Philippines has recorded 307,288 COVID-19 cases, 3,073 of which are new infections. 

A total of 5,381 COVID-19 patients have died, while 252,665 recovered. 

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had recommended keeping Metro Manila, along with one province and four cities, under GCQ) for the month of October. 

President Duterte met with Duque and the IATF before approving the updated quarantine classification Monday evening. 

Duterte satisfied with LGUs Meanwhile, President Duterte expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the local government units (LGUs) to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. 

In his televised address Monday night, the President recognized that government officials are mandated to serve the people, saying those who are unable to do so may leave the government.

“I’m really satisfied with the response of the local government. Alam mo, sa totoo lang mga kababayan ko, huwag kayong masyadong maniwala diyan sa mga atake-atake na ano, it will just muddle up your mind (To my countrymen, do no believe the attacks. It will just muddle up your mind),” Duterte said.

 “Our purpose is to serve and to work. If we cannot serve, if we cannot work, then we might as well get out of government and ask somebody else to take over,” he said .(With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)