Advance ‘mag-isip’: Metro LGUs have long been implementing 'circuit-breaker' lockdowns, says Abalos

Published July 28, 2021, 10:18 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila have been implementing “circuit-breaker” lockdowns against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) long before the OCTA Research group made the suggestion.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Abalos, in an interview over DZBB radio Wednesday morning, July 28, equated the circuit-breaker lockdowns to “granular” lockdowns, which are basically micro-level lockdowns that can be focused on a single barangay or street within that barangay. This all depends on the clustering of COVID-19 cases there.

“Matagal na hong ginagawa ito (circuit-breaker or granular lockdown). Ito’y ginagawa na in fact, mayroon apat o limang LGUs na talagang may clustering na ginagawa (We’ve been doing that for a long time. We’ve been doing that and in fact, we have four or five LGUs carrying out clustering),” he said.

OCTA recommended the use of circuit-breaker lockdowns on Tuesday to halt the possible spread of the more dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila.

“Nangyayari na po ngayon ‘yan, hawak ko po ang listahan. Ayoko lang sabihin kung saang lugar pero at least apat o limang LGUs ginagawa po yan. At hindi lang po yun, [pati] aggressive contact-tracing (That’s been happening, I have the list. I just don’t want to say where but at least four or five LGUs are doing it. And not only that, but also aggressive contact-tracing,” Abalos noted.

The MMDA chairman also underscored that the Metro LGUs were the first to request to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to rescind the resolution allowing children aged five and up to visit open-air spaces like parks. This was even before the confirmation of a local transmission of the Delta variant.

He said the mayors also took it upon themselves to lengthen the uniform curfew hours as another preemptive move. “Nakita mo naman ang NCR mayors, maagap po tayo dito (As you can see, the NCR mayors have acted fast on this).”

Asked how long granular lockdowns usually take, Abalos said there are protocols that must be followed as to the duration.

He acknowledged the rise in COVID-19 cases in the metropolis and said that authorities must assume that these are due to the Delta variant.

He said he will meet with the Metro mayors at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss further courses of action against the Delta threat.

“We must assume na Delta yung mga bagong kasong ito (We must assume that the new cases are Delta)…What do we do next? Yun ang pag-uusapan namin mamaya (That’s what we will talk about later). Do we need more aggressive measures here? What is important is we come up with a decision now.

“Aside from the fact that you’re practically doing circuit-breakers right now, yung sinasabi ng OCTA ginagawa na namin iyan. But ano pa ang gagawin natin aside from that to make sure (We’re already doing what OCTA has been saying. But what else do we have to do aside from that to make sure),” Abalos said.