Metro Manila mayors to meet later Tuesday to discuss alert level

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2022 10:21 AM | Updated as of Feb 22 2022 11:25 AM

Market-goers navigate the Marikina Public Market on February 20, 2022. Metro Manila mayors are scheduled to meet on the possible relaxation of restrictions to COVID-19 Alert level 1 starting March, according to MMDA officer-in-charge Romando
Market-goers navigate the Marikina Public Market on February 20, 2022. Metro Manila mayors are scheduled to meet on the possible relaxation of restrictions to COVID-19 Alert level 1 starting March, according to MMDA officer-in-charge Romando "Don" Artes, as cases start to decline. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Mayors in Metro Manila will meet in person later Tuesday to discuss whether the capital region should deescalate to Alert Level 1, one of them said.

The region's COVID-19 positivity rate is at 5.92 percent, according to San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora who said he supports Metro Manila's shift to a lower alert level.

"The Metro Manila Council will be meeting this evening. It will be the first time that we will meet face to face. For two years, Zoom lang kami nang Zoom, four times a week," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Ito (This is the) first time that we will meet officially as a council face to face. One major agenda really is the possible shift to Alert Level 1, which I am supporting."

San Juan has vaccinated 259 percent of its target population, including residents from other cities who registered for COVID jabs, Zamora said.

The mayor said establishments in the city have also been operating "very close to Alert Level 1" as these have a maximum capacity of 50 percent under Alert Level 2, plus 20 percent due to the city's high vaccination rate, and another 10 percent if the business has a safety seal.

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Marikina City has 25 active cases, as of Tuesday, and a positivity rate of 2.79 percent, its mayor Marcelino Teodoro said.

"Structurally, we need to prepare the necessary infrastructure, meaning the local health support system, to be able to manage the situation at Alert Level 1. We need to improve compliance in the practice of minimum public health standards in order to maintain a low risk classification," he said.

"Ang importante, yung internal discipline. Di naman problema dito kasi we have a sense of community here in Marikina."

(What's important is internal discipline. It's not a problem here in Marikina because we have a sense of community.)

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Businessmen support the further reopening of Metro Manila, home to more than 13.5 million people and which accounts for a third of the national economy, said Joey Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship.

"We cannot allow the debt to GDP go beyond 60 percent. For that to happen, we have to increase mobility, schools have to open... and of course, offices have to go back to to full capacity. As the economy's mobility improves, then of course, economic activity happens," he said.

Concepcion said his firm GoNegosyo would implement a 4-day on-site work schedule, and employees will be given the chance to work from home on Fridays.

"Normally, in the past, prior to the pandemic, Friday was a relaxed day... I think it will help with their own well-being. People don’t dress up. People don’t put on makeup. People forget to socialize. I think it’s healthy for people to get back to the office."

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