MMDA to assess new COVID-19 alert policy in NCR 'after one week'

The enforcement of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be evaluated a week after its implementation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Friday, Sept. 17.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said the assessment will commence as he acknowledged calls to increase the operating capacity of certain business establishments and religious venues in NCR.

As much as they want to increase the operating capacity in these areas, Abalos noted that they cannot do so as the MMDA only implements the suggestions coming from the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"Lahat naman po tayo siguro... talagang gusto po natin malakihan (ang operating capacities ng mga establishments) (All of us want to increase the operating capacities of various establishments)," he said in a TeleRadyo interview.

"After one week, we will assess our implementation. If we don't pass, we'll have another one week," he added in Filipino.

Abalos called on Metro residents to cooperate with the implementation of the new COVID-19 policy so that on its 14th day, NCR will be downgraded to Alert Level 3 which will increase the operating capacity of certain indoor activities to up to 30 percent.

The NCR was chosen for the pilot implementation of a new COVID-19 policy which uses alert levels instead of quarantine status to determine the situation in a particular area. It started on Thursday, Sept. 16, with NCR placed under Alert Level 4.

The MMDA chairman said the first day of the enforcement of Alert Level 4 in the region was orderly.

"Given the short time na ito, I would say talagang napakaganda ng mga ginagawa ng mga mayors natin (our Metro mayors are doing well) on the ground," he said in a separate radio interview over DZRH.

According to Abalos, Metro mayors are taking time to ensure the compliance of establishments that are allowed to operate with the observance of health protocols.

"Talagang maganda ang koordinasyon. Dahil importante ang konting puwang sa negosyo ay maging successful tayo rito at the same dapat bumaba ang kaso natin sa Manila (We've had good coordination. What's important here is that we succeed in partially allowing business to operate while also decreasing our new COVID-19 cases)," he said.