The Daily Manila Shimbun


Six Metro Manila mayors favor keeping GCQ

January 26, 2021

Six Metro Manila mayors on Tuesday said they want to maintain the general community quarantine (GCQ) status due to the continuous threat from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In separate radio interviews, the mayors said easing the quarantine status in the National Capital Region (NCR) should be based on scientific data and on the observation of health experts.

NCR is considered as the hotspot of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Metro Manila Council (MMC) chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the quarantine status should not be eased for now due to the new UK variant in the country.

“All the recommendations of MMC are based on scientific data… For us in Parañaque, we should not ease our quarantine for now and should retain in GCQ,” Olivarez said.

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said easing restrictions should not be based on clear data.

“The data should be clear on how many active cases (we have) or if the cases are increasing or already flatten. We should not be speculative. I know the economic cluster of the IATF wants to ease (the quarantine) because they believe that those kids aged 10 to 14 can generate economic activity, especially in retail,” Teodoro said.

He said if children will be allowed to go out, it should be because they are going to school.

“But it’s not possible right now because we still don’t have a vaccine,” he added.

Teodoro said it is best that the vaccination program will roll out first before allowing younger children to go out.

For Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco, they received an opinion from health experts saying easing restrictions is still dangerous due to the new COVID-19 variants.

Tiangco said they understand and support the intention of the economic managers on reviving the country’s economy but he said it should be balanced.

“For us, we don’t want the cases to slightly increase then we have to be strict again… We cannot do another lockdown,” he said.

“We will see how we can balance (the health and the economy),” he added.

According to Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, their city doctors recommended to retain the current status believing the COVID-19 cases in the country are still not stable and easing restrictions may cause a spike in cases.

“We need to control and stabilize first… If we rush it, we might need to impose stricter quarantine again,” Gatchalian said.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said they want to maintain their quarantine status as they have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the holiday season.

Zamora asked for patience after they were informed that the vaccine will arrive in the country in the next few months.

“I prefer to stay in GCQ especially we came from the Christmas season... We experienced a slight increase… I want to decrease the cases first especially that the vaccine is expected to arrive,” he said.

“Let’s not rush it because it is harder if there will be a second spike (of cases)… We already experienced this in the last 10 months and this is not the time to be relaxed,” he added.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan also preferred keeping GCQ as they also saw an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Our present state, the GCQ, that’s okay for me… There is an increase in our COVID-19 positive cases,” Malapitan said.

Malapitan said he opposed allowing children aged 10 to 13 years old to go out while 14 years old above can be allowed.

As of Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 514,996 COVID-19 cases with 475,422 recoveries and 10,292 deaths.

Almost all NCR mayors procured doses of COVID-19 vaccine from UK-based AstraZeneca.

The MMC is scheduled to have a meeting on Tuesday night for their recommendation to the IATF. Ellla Dionisio/DMS