Metro Manila mayors want clear guidelines on granular lockdown policy

Gillan Ropero and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2021 08:23 AM | Updated as of Sep 09 2021 04:50 PM

Commuters queue to ride the EDSA bus carousel at the Monumento station in Caloocan City on September 2, 2021, amid the modified enhanced community quarantine. The country breached the two million mark in total number of COVID-19 cases on September 1, after 14,216 more infections were logged according to the Department of Health. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Commuters queue to ride the EDSA bus carousel at the Monumento station in Caloocan City on September 2, 2021, amid the modified enhanced community quarantine. The country breached the two million mark in total number of COVID-19 cases on September 1, after 14,216 more infections were logged according to the Department of Health. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Local chief executives of Metro Manila want clearer guidelines on government's granular lockdown policy in the region, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro said Thursday.

The capital region's nearly 13.5 million people were supposed to shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) with alert levels system beginning Wednesday.

The mayors had asked for a copy of the guidelines, which the national government gave at around 1 p.m. Wednesday, Teodoro said.

"Sabi sa'min, 'wag muna i-articulate ang guidelines sapagkat pinag-uusapan pa ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19)," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(They told us not to articulate the guidelines because the IATF will still talk about it.)

The IATF announced the suspension of the new policy on Tuesday, hours before its supposed implementation, Teodoro said.

"Kailangan maraming ingat ang gagawin at maging malinaw para hindi maulit ang nangyari kahapon na urong-sulong tayo, laban-bawi. Yung kredibilidad pati ng ating policy-makers ay nalalagay sa alanganin," he said.

(We should be careful and clear so what happened yesterday would not happen again--we were back and forth. The credibility of our policy-makers are also put on the line.)

Mayors want the IATF to clarify requirements of when an area should be locked down, Teodoro said.

Among the pre-requisites were the number of COVID cases and the presence of variants, of which the mayors said test results from the Philippine Genome Center arrive late, he said.

Another requirement is the local government's hospital utilization rate, wherein mayors pointed out that some patients in their hospitals were from another locality, Teodoro said.

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"Posibleng taga-Metro Manila, posible taga-ibang probinsya [itong mga pasyente], ngunit ang datos ay napupunta sa San Juan kung kaya ang tumataas po, ang aming alert level," San Juan Mayor Zamora said in a televised public briefing. 

(They are possibly resident of other Metro Manila areas or other provinces, but their data is counted under San Juan, so our alert level is going up.)

"Ganoon din po sa kabuuan ng Metro Manila… if that will be the case, ang mangyayari ho n’yan, manananatili pa rin as alert level 4," he added.

(That is the case for the whole of Metro Manila. If that will be the case, what will happen is alert level will remain.) 
 
But Zamora said he could not confirm why the national government postponed the new lockdown rules. 

"We are just waiting for the guidelines... In fact, we were ready to implement already yesterday ‘yong GCQ with alert levels and granular lockdowns," he said. 

Final guidelines may include whether or not authorized persons outside their residence (APORs) can return to their homes during granular lockdowns, said Zamora. 

"But then again, kung sasabihin ng IATF na ang healthcare workers ay puwedeng lumabas, we are hoping that their employers will be able to provide them with accommodations for the entire 2 weeks para ho nga hindi sila kailangan bumalik sa granular lockdown area," he said. 

(If the IATF says that healthcare workers can got out, we are hoping that their employers will be able to provide them with accommodations for the entire 2 weeks so they no longer need to return to granular lockdown areas.) 

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