Mayors seek GCQ extension in NCR

Published November 30, 2020, 12:59 PM

by Jean Fernando

Metro Manila to ban Christmas parties in public places, gov’t offices

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said Metro Manila mayors have agreed to recommend the extension of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) until the end of December. 

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)

Aside from extending the quarantine status till the end ot the year, Olivarez said the 17 Metro Manila mayors will issue orders to shorten curfew hours from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. for the traditional Simbang Gabi which will start on December 16. 

“We have to avoid over crowding in churches during Simbang Gabi. If we shorten the curfew hours, the church can hold more Masses,” Olivarez, the chairman of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) told CNN in an interview Monday (Nov. 30). 

Olivarez said during the meeting of the MMC Sunday (November 29), the 17 Metro mayors met with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) regarding plans to combat the spread of COVID-19 during the Christmas season. 

He said the task force will forward its recommendation to President Duterte, who is set to announce the quarantine status and other guidelines Monday night (Nov. 30). 

Ban on Christmas parties 

Olivarez also revealed that all Metro Manila mayors will issue an executive order prohibiting the holding of Christmas parties in public places and government offices. 

Private companies will also be discouraged to hold Christmas celebrations due to restrictions on mass gathering, limiting assemblies to less than 10 persons. Olivarez said all Metro mayors agreed to allow children under 15- years-old to dine in restaurants with their parents. Under IATF health guidelines, persons under 15 and over 65-yearsold are not allowed to go out for nonessential travel. 

No to easing quarantine 

Earlier Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned of increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths should the government further relax its quarantine restrictions from GCQ to Modified GCQ (MGCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Kung ibaba natin ‘yong current quarantine status from GCQ to MGCQ, mas marami pa tayong iluluwag pa na restrictions… ‘Pag ganoon nangyari, tataas ang contact rate. ‘Pag tumaas ang contact rate, tataas din ang transmission rate. Possibleng ang hawaan ay mas lumawak, bibiglang dadami ang bilang ng ating kaso (If we lower the current quarantine status from GCQ to MGCQ, restrictions will be eased further. And if that happens, contact rate will increase and of course the transmission rate. The infection would spread and the COVID-19 cases will again surge),” he said. 

“At kung dumami ang bilang, possibleng ma-overwhelm na naman ang ating health systems capacity. ‘Pag naoverwhelm ‘yan malaking problema at hindi po maganda ito mangyari dahil pwede mas malaking bilang papanaw dahil sa complication ng COVID-19 lalo na po sa mga nakatatanda… Although, of course gumanda na ang kakayahan, humusay po ang clinical management ng ating mga doktor, mga nurses, at mga nangangalaga po ng COVID-19 patients (And if the cases will increase, our health capacity systems will again be overwhelmed. It will be a big problem because it will result in complications leading to deaths… Although the capability and the clinical management of our health workers have improved),” he added.