Fourteen of the 17 mayors in Metro Manila are supporting the plan to downgrade the modified enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine in the National Capital Region after May 31.
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Metro Manila Council chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez made the announcement Monday, saying the mayors favored placing their cities under GCQ starting June 1 provided health and safety protocols were strictly implemented.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said it would be wise to ease up on the restrictions, adding the quarantine had directly affected individual and family incomes and the country's revenue collections.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto agreed.
“We will have to open the economy little by little, step by step,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said it was up to the IATF to decide on the possible transition to GCQ, “but we would like to see a science-based decision.”
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Olivares said several mayors agreed with him that the COVID-19 pandemic was creating a “devastating effect” on the livelihood of workers and employers.
“A prolonged community quarantine will have severe economic effects and will impact the lives of people so negatively,” Olivarez said.
He said the council will meet on Wednesday to decide whether or not to downgrade the community quarantine in the metropolis.
During their last meeting on May 9, Mayors Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, Abigail Binay of Makati, Isko Moreno of Manila, Antolin Oreta III of Malabon and Imelda Aguilar of Las Piñas endorsed placing their cities under GCQ after May 16.
Pasay City Mayor Imelda Rubiano endorsed only a one-week extension of the ECQ.
The GCQ is a more relaxed form of community quarantine. Under GCQ, public transportation resumes at a reduced capacity, people can go back to work in certain sectors, and "non-leisure" establishments may open apart from essential ones.
Olivarez said the government’s efforts against the COVID-19 had already slowed the rate of infection.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian and Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco said they were now preparing for Metro Manila’s possible transition to GCQ.
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Earlier, Belmonte backed the lifting of the ECQ during the MMC meeting.
“While the health of our residents remains our primary priority, we also need to look after the local economy, which has been affected severely by the dreaded virus,” she said.
Moreno confirmed he voted in favor of the implementation of the GCQ in Manila during the MMC’s meeting on May 9.
“The more we prolong ECQ, companies will close, jobs will be lost. That is an undeniable fact,” he said.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said it might be better for the modified ECQ to be extended for another two weeks to see if the downward trend in COVID-19 cases would be sustained.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said he would leave it up to the national government to decide on the issue.
Olivarez expressed confidence that Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, and Taguig City Mayor Lino Edgardo Cayetano would recommend the downgrading of the MECQ to GCQ.
Abalos, Zamora, Sotto, Gatchalian, Ponce, Malapitan, and Cayetano supported a two-week extension of the ECQ.