Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos reiterated on Saturday, Oct. 16, that only the Department of Health (DOH) can decide on the alert level status of Metro Manila.
Abalos made the clarification amid reports that Metro mayors did not actually recommend the lowering of alert level status in the region from level 4 to 3.
“Under the condition of the alert levels, it’s always the DOH that should decide because they have epidemiologists, they have the algorithm, they are the experts when it comes to health,” he said in a public briefing.
On Friday, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro revealed that no discussion happened between the group of Metro mayors and the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases( before easing the quarantine restrictions of Metro Manila.
That was the reason why mayors were still confused about how to safely implement the new alert level status, he added.
In a recent interview with TeleRadyo, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco also said Metro mayors did not recommend the change in the region’s alert level status as their “opinion was not even asked.” Nevertheless, he welcomed the government’s new decision.
Abalos, in the same public briefing, said that Metro mayors and the DOH had a meeting last week, wherein the latter presented the current COVID-19 situation of Metro Manila.
“The DOH explained well why it’s better to downgrade the alert level status,” he added.