Malacanang has thanked the Metro Manila mayors for supporting the proposal to shift the capital region to the modified general community quarantine by March.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the safe reopening of the economy is needed to help curb rising hunger incidence in the country while health protocols are strictly enforced to stem the coronavirus spread.
“Pagdating naman po doon sa suporta para sa MGCQ, nagpapasalamat po kami. Ito po’y hindi naman po desisyon na hindi po nakabase sa siyensya at sa riyalidad (When it comes to the support for the MGCQ, we are thankful. This is not a decision that is not based on science and reality),” he said during a televised press briefing Thursday.
“Ang totoo po, mas marami nang nagugutom, mas marami na pong namamatay sa mga kadahilanan na iba po sa COVID-19 (In fact, more people have become hungry, more people have passed away for reasons not related to COVID-19),” he said.
Even as the government bats for further opening of the economy, Roque maintained that there was no room for complacency in observing health protocols to stem the spread of the coronavirus. People must continue to wear masks, frequently wash hands, and keep a safe distance from others to avoid getting infected, he said.
“Dapat pa rin tayong mag-ingat sa COVID-19. Pero ang sinasabi nga po natin, dapat mabuksan na ang ekonomiya, pag-ingatan ang mga buhay para sa hanapbuhay pero hindi po tayo magpapabaya. (We must continue to take precautions against COVID-19. Although we’re saying the economy must be further opened, we must also protect public health so we continue to work. We must not be complacent),” he said.
Mayors in Metro Manila earlier held a meeting to discuss the government recommendation to place the capital region under MGCQ by next month.
The mayors were initially split about the proposal but a majority vote for shift to MGCQ eventually won. Metro Manila, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has remained under the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) since August last year.
Acting socio economic planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua recently asked the President approve the recommendation to place the country under the MGCQ level starting March 1, 2021 to help revitalize economic activity and livelihood of the people. The MGCQ is the most relaxed of the four lockdown levels implemented by the government to curb the coronavirus spread.
Other NEDA recommendations are allowing persons between five years old and 70 years old to go out of their houses to boost consumer spending, expansion of public transportation operation, and resumption of the dry run of in-person classes in schools located in low-risk areas.
Roque said the President would carefully study the NEDA recommendations. The matter will also be further discussed in the Cabinet meeting scheduled next Monday.
“Titingnan po natin kung ano magiging desisyon ng ating Presidente pagdating ng Lunes dahil itong rekomendasyon pong ito ay isa rin sa mga bagay na idi-discuss po doon sa Cabinet meeting. (Let’s see the decision of the President by Monday because the recommendation is one of the matters to be discussed in the Cabinet meeting),” Roque said.