Minors or individuals aged below 18 years still shouldn’t be loitering outside their residences, a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) official clarified on Sunday, June 20.
“Dapat po sumunod pa rin tayo sa mga protocols pagdating sa COVID [coronavirus disease]. Nandyan pa po ang panganib ng COVID (We should still follow the protocols when it comes to COVID. The threat of COVID is still there),” MMDA Traffic Discipline Office chief, lawyer Cris Saruca said in a DZBB radio interview.
Saruca was asked by the radio anchor to clarify the rules on minors following the slight tweak made by the national government on the quarantine status of Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR).
For June 15 to 30, the NCR will remain general community quarantine or GCQ, but his time “with some restrictions” as opposed to the “with heightened restrictions” addendum of weeks past. The uniform curfew in Metro Manila had also been shortened to 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. from the previous 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
“Nagkaroon po ng Metro Manila Council [MMC] resolution 2021-010, sinasabi po doon na may standardized and unified curfew hours po sa NCR magmula 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. (The Metro Manila Council came up with resolution 2021-010, which stated that the standardized and unified curfew hours in NCR would be from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.),” Saruca said.
“Kasama naman po dito yung mga ipinapatupad ng IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] na yung mga minors na below 18, dapat po stay at home unless talagang essential travel like medical reason. So yun pa parin po ang ipinapatupad ng pamahalaang lokal (This includes the IATF’s rule that minors below 18 should stay at home unless they need to make an essential travel, like for medical reasons),” he noted.
Composed of the 17 mayors of NCR, the MMC functions as the policy-making body of the MMDA. Council meetings are presided over by MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos.
Asked if the minors’ parents would be in trouble in the event that the children are caught by authorities outdoors, Saruca answered “Yes.” The Traffic Discipline Office head says the enforcement of this rule falls on the barangay officials. “Dapat alam ng mga barangay ang gagawin nila kung may nakikitang mga menor de edad sa lansangan (The barangay officials should know what to do if they see minors out on the streets).” “Ang barangay po natin ang basic LGU [local government unit] at sila po ang people on the ground. Kaya mabigat po ang nagiging function ng ating barangay sa pagpapatupad ng mga patakarang ito (Our barangay is the most basic LGU and they are the people on the ground. That’s why the responsibility to enforce this rule falls heavy on them),” explained Saruca.
“Sa mga pagpupulong ng MMC, kasama po ang coordination dyan with PNP [Philippine National Police] and DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government]. Kaya po pinapatupad nang mahigpit lahat ng ordinansa tungkol sa ating COVID protocol (MMC meetings include coordinations with PNP and DILG. As such, all ordinances on COVID protocol are strictly being enforced),” he further said.