DILG allows NCR LGUs to decide if minors are allowed outdoors under Alert Level 3 -- exec

It will be up to the local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) whether or not to allow minors outside their residence as pandemic restriction in NCR is downgraded to Alert Level 3, an executive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday, Oct. 15.

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco ensing III said that minors going outdoors will generally be allowed in areas under Alert Level 3 under the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). NCR will be placed under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31.

“Generally, papayagan po iyan. So depende na po ‘yan sa NCR mayors (Generally, this is allowed. So it will depend on the NCR mayors),’’ Densing said in a radio interview over dzBB.

He revealed having requested Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos to discuss the matter with the Metro Manila mayors.

But the DILG official noted that the NCR mayors are divided on allowing minors outside their residences under Alert Level 3.

Meanwhile, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año insisted that the lowering of restrictions in NCR was justified with the improved coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the region.

Año issued the statement when pressed for comment after infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante stressed that it could be better for officials to wait until the end of October before lowering the alert level as doing it on October 16 is still "too early."

Año explained that easing the restrictions in NCR has scientific basis and based on data that NCR has “already attained the vaccination rate of 80 percent of eligible population.’’

“Every two weeks naman ang review and assessment ng Alert Level System and LGUs may place any area under strict granular lockdowns kaya madali pa din ma-address kapag may surge or community transmission (The review and assessment of the Alert Level System is done every two weeks and the LGUs may place any area under strict granular lockdowns that's why it is still easier to address if there is a surge or community transmission),’’ Año told the Manila Bulletin.

Año further defended the move pointing out that the LGUs still have to enforce gatekeeping factors including the “PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) + Vaccination strategy.

Independent monitoring group OCTA Research revealed that NCR is currently at moderate risk for COVID-19 as the reproduction numbers in all the 17 Metro Manila LGUs dipped to 0.60 percent on Oct. 14.