Palace: Opening of Metro Manila cinemas moved to March 1, subject to LGUs' OK

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2021 12:48 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2021 04:03 PM

Palace: Opening of Metro Manila cinemas moved to March 1, subject to LGUs' OK 1
SM Cinemas in Santa Rosa, Laguna implement #SafeAndFunMovieWatching against COVID-19 as the province allows fifty percent capacity in indoor cinemas under modified general community quarantine. Laguna eased into MGCQ last October 1. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The reopening of traditional movie theaters in Metro Manila has been moved to March 1, subject to the approval of local governments, Malacañang said on Monday. 

Businesses like cinemas will not be allowed to reopen or expand their operation in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) without the approval of local officials, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

Mayors in the National Capital Region, which is under GCQ this February, oppose the reopening of cinemas in their jurisdictions, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said on Sunday.

Roque said he has talked to Metro Manila authorities and the trade department. 

"Ang pagpapatupad po ng pagbubukas ng sinehan, kung matutuloy po, ay Marso 1," he told reporters in an online briefing.

"Kinakailangan pong ipagpatuloy ang consultations at kinakailangan pong bumuo ng guidelines ang mga lokal na pamahalaan bago po mabuksan ang mga sinehan."

(The opening of cinemas, if it will push through, will be on March 1. Consultations need to continue and local governments must come up with guidelines before cinemas can be opened.)

Other GCQ areas that have released guidelines can reopen cinemas, he said.

Roque earlier said the inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response allowed the reopening of several GCQ industries from Feb. 15. 

"Hindi po nagsasabong ang IATF at inyong mga alkalde. Nagkakaisa po kami na kinakailangan buksan unti-unti ang ekonomiya," said Roque. 

(The IATF and your mayors are not fighting. We agree that we need to slowly reopen the economy.)

The Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, but Roque said improving hospital capacity provided room to ease more curbs.

From one of Asia's fastest growing nations before the pandemic, the Philippines suffered its worst economic decline in 2020 as a strict coronavirus lockdown shuttered businesses and put millions out of work.

Video courtesy of PTV