Metro mayors to decide on next quarantine status recommendation for NCR this week

Published April 26, 2021, 10:41 AM

by Dhel Nazario & Noreen Jazul

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Monday, April 26, that the Metro Manila Council (MMC) will decide on the new quarantine classification for the National Capital Region (NCR) two days before the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) ends on April 30.

A vendor walks past a neighbourhood under strict quarantine measures in Pasay City on March 16, 2021 (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a text message sent to Manila Bulletin on Monday, April 26, Olivarez, who is aldo chairman of the MMC, said that the 17 mayors will be coming up with a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) “until Wednesday” for NCR’s quarantine status.

On Sunday night, Olivarez said the MMC convened with the IATF and the Department of Health (DOH) to consolidate the data in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Olivarez, in an interview with DZBB, said the MMC will also consider the data from the OCTA Research Group.

“Ang pinagbabasehan po natin ng MMC, iyon pong mga data na nanggagaling po sa ating mga health experts, ang ating DOH pati ang OCTA Research yan po yung pinagbabasehan po natin at kita naman po natin na talaga pong yung ating reproduction rate ay malaki ang ibinaba nitong past two weeks (The basis of the MMC’s recommendation will come from health experts such as the DOH, as well as the OCTA Research group, and we could see that the reproduction rate has gone down in the past two weeks),” he said.

The OCTA Research Group said on Sunday that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reproduction number in NCR has gone down to 0.93 for the week of April 18 to 24. The reproduction number refers to the number of people that a single COVID-19 patient can infect.

“Kaya yan po, yan po yung ating mga titingnan po, lahat po ng mga sides pero ang problema po talaga yung atin pong ekonomiya talagang itong ating MECQ napakadami pong nawalan ng trabaho pero we could not sacrifice yung atin pong programa sa pangkalusugan (That’s why we’re looking at all sides because the problem really is our economy since MECQ left a lot of people jobless but we cannot sacrifice our health programs),” Olivarez said.

The DOH and the OCTA Research Group have called for the extension of the MECQ in NCR-plus tp include the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora had earlier said that the MMC would “vote within the day” (Monday) on whether to ease the quarantine restrictions or extend the MECQ in NCR.

Zamora, In an interview with CNN Philippines, said the mayors already met Sunday night and presented different scenarios — for NCR to remain under MECQ; for NCR to shift to General Community Quanraine (GCQ) by the middle of May; and for NCR to shift to GCQ beginning May.

“Each scenario had different impacts on us, on our healthcare systems, healthcare utilization, and the economy,” Zamora said.

The mayors, according to Zamora, will also meet with the government’s economic team today to get more data on the possible impact of the next quarantine status.

“Whatever the vote will be, of course, we are only just recommendatory. At the end of the day, it’s the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) that will decide and I know that it will have a meeting tomorrow (April 27),” the mayor said.