Easing virus restrictions in Metro Manila 'compromise' for economy: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2020 05:53 PM

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MANILA - Easing virus restrictions in Metro Manila is meant to serve as a "compromise" for the economy, Malacañang said Wednesday as the capital region transitioned to general community quarantine.

Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ on Wednesday, resuming public transport and reopening more industries as the government rushed to resuscitate the economy. 

Four surrounding provinces - Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal- that were placed under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine along with the capital region for two weeks also went back to the relaxed lockdown level.

"This is a compromise po na buksan natin ang ekonomiya pero limitahan pa rin po ang galaw ng ating mga kababayan," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

(This is a compromise to reopen the economy while still limiting the movement of our people.)

More Filipinos are expected to return to work with more industries allowed to operate in Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of the country's gross domestic product, he added.

The easing of restrictions in the capital and nearby urban hubs comes after the country plunged into recession. The last economic recession was experienced nearly 30 years ago.

Unemployment is also at a record high, with a recent survey showing that almost half of all Filipino adults, or around 27.3 million individuals, are jobless.

Roque, however, clarified that the GCQ policy in Metro Manila would be stricter following the appeal of mayors in the region.

"Bagama't tayo po ay nag-GCQ dahil kinakailangan nang buksan ang ekonomiya para tayo ay magkahanapbuhay, kinonsulta rin po natin ang mga Metro Manila mayors at ang nais po nila ay ang mas striktong GCQ," he said.

Metro Manila will start to impose a uniform curfew starting Wednesday night, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Aug. 31. Gyms, internet cafes, pet grooming, and personal care services are also prohibited from resuming operations in the region.

Mass gatherings in the region, meanwhile, will be limited to 10 people, while local governments have the power to impose localized lockdowns.