Metro Manila's shift to MGCQ merely a 'label' — MMDA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 19) — Placing the country's capital region under the more relaxed community quarantine is merely a "label," the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Friday, adding this could strengthen business confidence.

During a virtual briefing, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said general community quarantine rules being implemented in Metro Manila have been adjusted as the government has been gradually reopening more sectors in an attempt to revive the economy.

The National Capital Region, the country's key economic hub, contributes 32 percent to the local economy.

"Ang GCQ right now is already an MGCQ, marami na ring bukas. Hindi na siya katulad ng GCQ noong araw," Garcia said.

[Translation: The GCQ right now is already an MGCQ, many sectors have also been allowed to reopen. It is not the same as before.]

"Label na lang 'yung GCQ at MGCQ. What we're doing for the past months is MGCQ. Wala namang difference kung ano ang mga bukas na establishments. Kumbaga ito ay magbibigay na lang ng kumpiyansa sa mga business sectors," the official added.

[Translation: GCQ and MGCQ are just labels. What we're doing for the past months is MGCQ. There is no difference as to which businesses are open. This will give confidence to business sectors.]

Garcia also allayed fears that easing quarantine controls in Metro Manila would result in a spike in COVID-19 cases.

He stressed the Philippines has been under lockdown for almost a year, and Filipinos are now used to following minimum health protocols, like wearing of face mask and face shield, as well as observing physical distancing.

Local governments are ready to strictly implement health protocols, and city authorities can impose targeted lockdowns if they monitor a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in specific areas, he added.

Garcia also said NEDA has given assurance that the Department of Transportation is ready to open more routes to boost mass transit in the capital.

On Thursday, Metro Manila mayors agreed with the advice of economic leaders to shift to MGCQ by March despite warnings from health experts.

According to Garcia, they are still waiting for President Rodrio Duterte's decision.