Metro Manila mayors recommend shifting to GCQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — Metro Manila mayors are unanimously recommending to ease COVID-19 mitigation measures in the region to a general community quarantine or GCQ, Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia announced Tuesday.

All 17 mayors of the capital region are recommending to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to ease quarantine restrictions and allow more businesses to reopen in hopes of restarting the economy.

Nakikita ng mayors natin na kailangan nang tumakbo ng ekonomiya natin,” Garcia said. “Kailangan natin buksan ang ekonomiya kasi mas maraming mamamatay sa gutom eh.

[Translation: Our mayors see that the economy needs to restart … We need to reopen the economy because more people would die of hunger.]

Garcia said, however, that the mayors are ready to implement any decision that may come from the IATF, whether it decides to extend the current stringent modified enhanced community quarantine or it decides to impose the more relaxed GCQ.

“We trust the wisdom of the IATF and whatever decision that they will do, definitely we will follow,” he said.

Should the IATF agree with the Metro Manila mayors, mass transportation in the region will still be limited as the MMDA wants buses and jeeps not to operate for two more weeks.

Garcia said private companies’ shuttles, transport network vehicle services, taxis, tricycles and point-to-point buses will still be available for those who need to be transported to work.

A modified coding scheme will also be implemented, he said, where all vehicles will be allowed to travel as long as they are carrying two or more passengers.

There have been talks that Metro Manila may shift to a GCQ, where more businesses are allowed to reopen so they could recover from losses brought by the COVID-19 crisis for the past two months.

This is despite a warning from experts that a spike in COVID-19 infections may happen in Metro Manila if quarantine measures are eased.

To date, there are over 14,000 confirmed cases of the viral disease in the Philippines, with over 800 deaths and more than 3,000 recoveries.