Metro Manila mayors said they were not properly consulted on the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow cinemas and leisure parks to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In previous decisions of the IATF on protocols and regulations, members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) who are mayors of the 16 cities and one municipality in the National Capital region (NCR), were consulted before announcing a decision that would greatly impact local governments in the metropolis.
“May mga panahon na ganoon ang nangyayari. Pero itong huling naging desisyon ng IATF, halos lahat naman kami ay iisa ang sinasabi — wala ‘yung proper consultation at nalaman na lang namin ang desisyon na iyon sa mga balita matapos ilabas ang desisyon (We were usually consulted. But this recent decision of IATF—almost all of us are saying this—there is no proper consultation and we just learned about this in the news),” Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro said during a radio interview over DZBB, referring to IATF’s decision on the reopening of amusement parks, arcades, and cinemas .
The mayor said that it is important to consult mayors about matters greatly impacting their residents.
“Dahil ang enforcement ay mayor ang nagpapatupad kaya kailangang maging tenable ito at napapaliwanag natin nang maayos ang mga batayan ng desisyon natin (The mayors will be the ones implementing the decisions of the IATF. That’s why they should be tenable and should be able to explain the basis for their decisions),” Teodoro said.
Teodoro said he and his fellow mayors were worried about the possible repercussions of the decision.
“Marami sa mayors, majority, ay nagkaroon ng pag-aalala dahil nga ‘yung data natin sa COVID-19 cases gumagalaw, hindi naman bumababa ang lahat ng mga kaso natin (Majority of the mayors were worried because the COVID-19 data is not manifesting a significant decline in the number of cases),” he said.
“At isa pa naming sinasabi, sa pagkakataong ito, mahalagang makinig tayo sa mga eksperto– sa health experts, economic experts, at higit sa lahat, tingnan natin ang mga research data na mayroon tayo para sa ganoon guided tayo sa mga desisyon natin (It is important to listen to experts—health and economic experts—and we should base our decisions on our research data so that we can make a guided decision),” Teodoro added.
He said he issued an executive order on February 15 prohibiting the reopening of cinemas and similar establishments, especially enclosed areas.
On February 15, the IATF deferred the opening of cinemas and leisure parks to March 1 in “order to give local governments time to craft guidelines to prevent a spike of COVID-19 cases.”