MANILA—The Metro Manila Council said it could leave the decision requiring quarantine passes to its local government units, as they prepare for the enhanced community quarantine to be implemented from August 6.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos said it was possible to revive the use of passes, as the NCR gears up for the strictest lockdown, amid Delta variant threats and increase in COVID-19 cases.
"If it's ECQ talaga, ang basic principle niyan ay pwede ka lumabas to buy essential goods. Hindi ka pwede lumabas outside of that except kung (authorized person outside residence) ka," he said.
(If we're implementing ECQ, the basic principle is you can go out to buy essential goods. You cannot go out unless you are an APOR.)
"Ang hirap kasi mag-quarantine passes ng metrowide, dahil we're racing against time here. It's so hard. Siguro whatever was practiced before by LGU, yun na lang tutuparin namin," ani Abalos.
(It's very hard to do quarantine passes metrowide, because we are racing against time here. It's so hard. I think we will go with whatever has been practiced before by our LGUs.)
Metro Manila will be placed in the strictest lockdown, or ECQ, from August 6 to 20. With the implementation, Abalos said mayors will most likely enforce regulations they imposed over past ECQs, and possibly lower the 10 p.m. curfew implemented just last week.
This will be the third time the NCR will be placed under the strict lockdown. The first was in March 2020 when the entire Luzon was placed under ECQ, then in late March this year, when the capital region and surrounding areas called the NCR Bubble experienced an uptick in cases.
The MMDA chair also apologized for the reimplementation of the strictest lockdown.
"Aside from that habang nagbabakuna, yung ayuda naman ang aasikasuhin nito, sabay sabay iyan. You can imagine right now, yung ECQ gagawin, it's not a walk in the park for the mayors. Trabahong matindi ito. Pero kamukha ng sinabi ko, we have to do everything right now to stop this threat," Abalos said, reiterating that active cases could reach 500,000 if no intervention is done.
Abalos also noted an increase in patients at Metro hospitals, with East Avenue Medical Center going over 94 percent critical care capacity; Chinese General Hospital going over 88 percent capacity, Quirino Memorial Hospital with 89 percent capacity and Metropolitan Medical Center and Ospital ng Makati with a hundred percent capacity.
- Report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News