The cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu on Tuesday appealed to the national government to let them stay under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), as other areas shift to the loosened "general community quarantine" (GCQ).
Earlier in the day, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said both cities were recommended to shift to GCQ beginning May 16, as the national government tries to get the Philippine economy running again after 2 months of strict lockdown due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Cebu City, meanwhile, was recommended to be placed in the modified enhanced community quarantine.
Officials of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, however, said in a letter sent to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) said they feel "it is not safe to proceed with the GCQ, more so, that a greater part of the community has not been tested for COVID-19" in their areas.
Mass testing for the three cities of Cebu commenced last May 6, but they still haven't reached their target of COVID-19 tests for at least 10 percent of their population, officials said.
Initial results from Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu also showed that they are still about to approach half of their total target of COVID-19 tests.
"We maintain our stand from day one that until and unless our constituents are tested, we should not ease the restrictions," the letter read. It was signed by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapulapu city Mayor Junard Chan.
The IATF has yet to respond to the letter.
As of Monday, Cebu City has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas with 1,660, followed by Mandaue with 110, and Lapulapu with 42.