Employers group backs shift of Metro Manila to MGCQ


Posted at Sep 23 2020 01:27 AM

Commuters follow the 1-meter physical distancing inside the MRT-3 in Quezon CIty on Sept. 14, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - An employers group on Tuesday expressed support to further easing of quarantine restrictions in the Philippine capital region to open more sectors of the economy.

Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said his group supports a shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but the government must provide additional transit service to workers.

"Kung kami ang tatanungin, dapat talaga mag-MGCQ na tayo dahil andami pang hindi nakakapasok na dapat pumasok," he told Teleradyo's "SRO".

However, Ortiz-Luis cautioned that downgrading restriction would be useless if workers couldn't go to work due to limited public transportation.

"Kung tayo'y pupunta sa MGCQ at hindi rin maso-solve ang transportation, ang laking sayang," he said.

"Ang malaking criticism sa gobyerno na talagang very valid eh wala kaming nakikita na isinasabay na maso-solve 'yung transportation dahil 'yun ang napakabigat na bitbit ng ekonomiya," he added.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier suggested placing Metro Manila and other areas under MGCQ as long as the public strictly observes minimum health standards.

Most parts of the country are under MGCQ while Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Tacloban City and Bacolod City remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until Sept. 30.

The Philippines employs a 4-level community quarantine scheme ranging from the strictest ECQ to the most relaxed MGCQ.

The quarantine level dictates the type of business activities allowed in a certain area, as well as travel restrictions.

In the same interview, Lopez told Teleradyo the transportation department had to come up with innovative solutions to fill the gap in mass transit.

"May mga programa sila [Transportation] Sec. Arthur Tugade sa pagdagdag ng ruta, pagdagdag ng buses, pag-increase ng frequency ng biyahe para mapadami ang capacity," he said.

"As it is, alam natin handicap, ibig sabihin, magkukulang talaga because of physical distancing. Malaking challenge talaga sa transportation at kailangan ng innovative solution ng DOTr. Meron silang pini-present. Masabi natin work in progress pa, ini-improve pa kumbaga," he added.

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