Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año commended the Metro Manila mayors on Thursday for banning minors to leave their homes and visit the malls during the Holiday Season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I appreciate the NCR (National Capital Region) mayors for not allowing minors (to leave their homes and enter the malls), Año said in an interview.
Initially, the Metro Manila mayors were tinkering with the idea of relaxing the ban of minors outside residences that would eventually allow them to enter shopping malls.
Later, they decided to consult health experts particularly the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) on their stand of allowing minors outside their residence.
Eventually, the PPS declared that it is very dangerous to allow minors to go out of their homes as this may trigger the spike of COVID-19 and waste the government’s nine-month efforts to prevent the transmission.
“Kasi ako hangga’t maaari people should stay home, minors should stay home, yan talaga ang stand ko, ang dami nang nagluluwag so dapat hinayhinay lang. Ngayon magki-Christmas pa naman, sigurado ang mga tao ang tendency nyan lumabas, pag pinayagan mo ‘yung mga minors na yan, malilikot yan, pagdating sa mall, pwedeng mahawa yan, pag umuwi yan sa bahay, hawaan nya ‘yung mga vulnerable ‘yung lolo, lola nya (As much as possible, people should stay home, minors should stay home. That is really my stand. There are lots of places relaxing (their quarantine protocols) so let us be careful. As the Christmas season nears, it is sure that people will have the tendency to go out. If minors are allowed (to leave their homes) they are restless when inside the malls and may get infected (with COVID-19). When they return home, he might infect the vulnerable, their grandfather and the grandmother),’’ he added.
He also explained that the technical working group (TWG) of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) proposes what areas should have relaxed or stricter quarantine protocols even without the recommendation of other sectors.
The DILG chief maintained that the IATF continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation in every place of the country to allow them to provide intelligent inputs in case certain places request for less stringent quarantine protocols in a bid to boost their economy.
“Pero at the end of the day LGU pa rin talaga ang pinaka may last say kung pwede nyang iimplement (protocol restrictions) o hindi kasi nga responsible sya e, iba iba naman kasi yung COVID situation e, kahit halimbawa magkapareha sya na mgcq pero high risk naman yung isa, low risk naman yung isa, so pwedeng magadjust yung isang lgu (But at the end of the day, the LGU has still the last say what quarantine protocols should be implemented in their areas since they are responsible (to their people),’’ Año said.
But being a “contiguous area” Año said Metro Manila should have uniform mall restrictions.
“Di pupuwedeng sabihin iba si Makati kay Quezon City kasi walang distinction yan, kapagka papasok na yung tao sa trabaho, taga Quezon City pero Makati sya magwowork, tapos dun sya magma-mall sa Mandaluyong, e hindi pupwedeng sabihing magkakaiba yan, dapat iisang boses, isang posisyon lang (We cannot say that Makati City is different from Quezon City, there should be no distinction. When a person from Quezon City goes to work in Makati City and goes malling in Mandaluyong City we cannot say they are all different. There should only be one voice and only one position),’’ he added.
In areas under the modified general community quarantine, Año persons aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed to leave their residences.
“Yung pababa pa hindi pa pwede (Those under that age group (14 years old and below) are forbidden (to go out of their homes),’’ Año ended.