May 26, 2020

All 17 mayors member of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) have agreed on a recommendation to transition the National Capital Region to general community quarantine (GCQ) after May 31, said Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Jojo Garcia in a media briefing on May 26.

Garcia said they will be forwarding this recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases in the coming days but with other conditions that put into consideration the current COVID-19 statistics and the public’s health.

Modified coding

The first consideration is mass transport. Garcia clarified that despite the suggestion to shift to GCQ, only limited movement will be allowed, thus restricting public transportation to transport network vehicle services, taxi, tricycle and pedicabs (with one passenger per unit), shuttle services, point-to-point buses and private utility vehicles. This is to reinforce social distancing measures. Meanwhile, jeeps and buses will continue to be barred from operating partly because the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is still finalizing rerouting plans.

[READ: No cash, no contact: Digital payment now the “new normal” for taxis and TNVS]

But to moderate the number of cars in major roads like EDSA, Garcia said MMC is recommending a modified coding scheme, where despite the restrictions a leeway will be given to private vehicles. For example, on Monday cars with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 are banned on the road, but they may be allowed given they are accompanied by two or more passengers to maximize their trips outside.

Another consideration is limiting the operations of malls, in an effort to avoid the surge of people, which happened recently in some areas when shopping establishments opened.

Localized lockdown

The MMC also wants to push for a single lockdown classification. However, individual LGUs can still exercise their power to place certain areas like barangays with a high number of COVID-19 cases under lockdown.

[READ: Gov’t eyes enforcing barangay lockdowns with high number of COVID-19 cases]

Garcia said the decision was backed by data and that every LGU is ready should the transition to GCQ happen because the mayors have considered all scenarios prior to arriving to a unanimous decision.

MMC, however, clarifies that the final decision is still in the hands of the IATF and President Rodrigo Duterte.


Header photo courtesy of Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

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TAGS: covid-19 general community quarantine Metro Manila metro manila council modified coding modified gcq ncr