Roque apologizes to mayors, vows to improve coordination on IATF policies

Published February 18, 2021, 3:10 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang has issued an apology after some mayors reportedly felt left out in the government task force’s planned easing of movement curbs in Metro Manila, promising to coordinate better the policies related to pandemic response.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said they thought the Metropolitan Manila Development (MMDA) was relaying the resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to the mayors after their meetings. A representative of the MMDA, he pointed out, attends the regular IATF meetings.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay earlier expressed dismay over the supposed poor coordination between the IATF and the local government units (LGUs) about its decisions, including the most recent proposal to place the entire country under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting this March.  

The task force also recently allowed the reopening of movie theaters, game arcades, museums, as well as limited tourist attractions in Metro Manila and other areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) but the metro mayors were reportedly opposed to the idea.

Binay reportedly lamented there was lack of consultation with the mayors on the latest IATF resolution. It supposedly caused confusion among residents since the mayors had to clarify there were no guidelines yet on how to implement the easing of movement restrictions.

“Nais ko lang i-address iyong isang punto na nilabas ng aking kapatid sa kulay pero mas maganda po siya – siya ang beauty, ako ang beast – si Mayor Abby Binay. Ma’am, actually nakaupo sa IATF ang ating MMDA at kami naman sa IATF ay umaasa na ang mga naa-aprubahan mga resolusyon ng IATF ay napagbibigay-alam ng MMDA sa mga mayor (I’d like to address the points raised by my sister in color but she’s prettier — she’s the beauty, I’m the beast — Mayor Abby Binay. Ma’am actually the MMDA sits in the IATF meetings and we in the IATF expects the MMDA to relay the resolutions to the mayors),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday.

“Paumanhin po kung nagugulat kayo sa mga announcements pero ang buong akala namin talaga ay naipararating sa inyo ng MMDA ‘yung  mga nangyayari sa IATF (We apologize if you are surprised by the announcements but we really thought that the MMDA was relaying the information from the IATF),” he added.

Roque has also offered his office to improve the coordination with the local government units whenever IATF issues a resolution related to pandemic response.

“Siguro gagawa na ako ng mga hakbang para ‘yung opisina ko mismo can directly communicate with all the mayors para walang gulatan  (Maybe I will take steps so my office can directly communicate with all the mayors so there won’t be surprises),” he said.

Majority of the metro mayors reportedly agreed to place Metro Manila under the most relaxed community quarantine level as recommended by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to address rising hunger and revive the sluggish economic growth. Earlier, the mayors sought to defer the opening of the cinemas amid concerns arising from the coronavirus threat.