Consensus on Metro Manila curfew, border control out tonight; possible implementation by weekend – Olivarez

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 11)— Metro Manila mayors expect to reach a consensus and decision on unifying COVID-19 policies – particularly curfew hours and border control in the region – when the council meets on Thursday afternoon, according to its chairman.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, MMC Chair and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez said tackling these protocols, seen to address the reported spike in coronavirus infections, will be the “main agenda” during the meeting slated at 5 p.m.

Pagu-usapan po doon ito ngang spike ng ating COVID all over Metro Manila, at kung ano po ‘yung aming ding mga policies na gagawin na magkakaroon po ng consensus na isa lang po ang policy within national capital region,” Olivarez told The Source on Thursday morning.

[Translation: We will discuss there the spike in COVID infections all over Metro Manila, and the policies that we will be carrying out—to have a consensus that we’ll have only one policy within national capital region.]

Olivarez, in particular, said they hope to “unify” the curfew hours within NCR, citing the challenges of having interconnected cities.

“Lumipat ka lang ng isang kalsada, ibang siyudad na. Lumipat ka ng isang purok, city na,” he noted. “So we will unify.”

[Translation: You just move to a different street, it’s already a different city. You move to a different subdivision, it’s already a different city. So we will unify.]

The proposal for a uniform curfew was backed by the Interior Department, which noted that “changes” must be made due to the rising COVID-19 cases.

“We want to send a signal to the public that it's not business as usual,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a media forum in the same day. “At this point in time, at the very least a uniform curfew is what is required.”

While the local chief executives anticipate a decision by tonight, Olivarez explained that the measures may only be carried out over the weekend, since they would still have to craft an executive order. “Maybe two days after today,” the mayor said of the implementation.

Apart from the mayors, expected during this afternoon’s meeting are officials from the Health Department and the OCTA Research Group, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos had said. This is for the council to get the full picture of the current pandemic situation and to be able to guide them for possible revisions in policies.

At least four cities in Metro Manila have adjusted their curfew hours amid the rising cases in the region – which stands at 247,935 to date.