MANILA – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday welcomed the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) to place the metropolis under general community quarantine (GCQ) in June.
Año, however, said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has the final word on the matter.
“Maganda naman yung ginawa nila na yan pero syempre ang masusunod pa rin or magbibigay ng desisyon diyan ay ang Pangulo base sa recommendation ng IATF (They came up with a good decision but of course, it is the President who will decide based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases),” he said in a radio interview.
He said the IATF is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue and the President is expected to decide on the fate of the community quarantine either on Thursday or Friday.
On Monday, Año said the government plans to implement a barangay-based lockdown after the lapse of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila on May 31.
He said villages with a high incidence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) could be placed under lockdown while those with no cases could ease the restrictions on their residents’ movement and open some business establishments.
Año further said the lockdown could be imposed on smaller units, such as subdivisions and neighborhoods.
Only random checkpoints will be in place under the GCQ to ease traffic congestion as more people are expected to return to work once some businesses reopen at a limited capacity.
In a meeting on Tuesday, all 17 mayors of Metro Manila unanimously approved the recommendation to place the area under GCQ on June 1.
Aside from Metro Manila, the provinces of Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Zambales are under MECQ while the rest of the country is under GCQ.
Only the cities of Cebu and Mandaue are under ECQ.
Metro Manila mayors have sought the shift to GCQ, a less stringent form of community quarantine, as they saw the need to reopen the economy for more industries to help their constituents cope with the Covid-19 crisis.
People living in areas under MECQ have to limit their movement to going to work and availing of essential services. (ia/PNA)