Parents or guardians will have to accompany children aged 10-14 should they decide to go out in areas under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status, a Palace official said Sunday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made this remark after the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) allowed people aged 10 years to 65 years to leave their homes for non-essential activities, such as going to malls starting Feb. 1.
Current IATF rules permit only those aged 15 to 65 years old to leave their homes.
“Hindi naman basta-basta lalabas ‘yan kung hindi kasama ang magulang. Meron po tayong panibagong clarificatory resolution na ilalabas na yung pag-labas ng bata is dapat kasama ang magulang para ma-supervise (They won’t just go out if they’re not accompanied by their parents. We will release a clarificatory resolution, when they go out parents should be with them so they can be supervised),” he said in an interview over DZBB.
Nograles said 10-year-old kids are old enough to understand the importance of observing health and safety protocols such as wearing of face masks, face
shields, frequent handwashing, and physical distancing.
He also pointed out that the Philippines seemed to be the only country restricting minors from going outside.
“Sa ibang bansa po, hindi sila kasing restrictive po natin sa galawan ng mga kabataan. Sa ibang bansa po, hindi nila kinukulong ang mga bata sa loob ng tahanan. As far as pag survey naman sa iba’t-ibang ginagawa ng bansa, tayo po yung pinaka restrictive (In other countries, they’re not as restrictive when it comes to the youth’s movements. In other countries, they don’t keep the youth locked up in their homes. In surveying other countries in the world, we found out that we’re the most restrictive),” he said.
He also said the country’s daily Covid-19 cases are still “manageable”.
“Nakita namin na after Christmas holidays, manageable naman ang cases natin per day, nagka desisyon kami na babaaan ang age restriction to 10 (We saw that after the Christmas holidays, our cases per day are still manageable so we decided to ease the age restriction to 10 years old),” he said.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque warned that failure to relax age restrictions may lead to “economic deterioration.”
He said the government needs to “balance both the reopening of the economy and controlling the spread of the virus.”
“This IATF decision likewise forms part of the overarching goal of reopening the economy, thus promoting recovery. Not easing restrictions may have (a) longer impact on jobs, income, poverty, and hunger, leading to further economic deterioration, as well as health issues,” he said.
Roque also said allowing children to go out amid the pandemic is good for their health.
“Filipino children have already stayed in their homes for 10 months now and allowing those to leave their houses, especially on a weekend activity, is good for their physical, social, and mental health,” he added.