Palace says no harm done announcing new NCR alert hours before effectivity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2021 03:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 05 2021 05:41 PM

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Malacañang on Friday defended the timing of its announcement on the easing of Metro Manila's COVID-19 alert level.

The Palace on Thursday night announced that Metro Manila would shift to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3, less than 3 hours before this took effect, allowing the reopening of more businesses and the additional easing of restrictions. 

"Inanunsyo kaagad ‘yan para nga maipagbigay-alam sa lahat ng mas maraming makakapaghanapbuhay dahil mas marami po tayong sektor ng ekonomiya na binubuksan," Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing. 

(That was announced immediately so we can inform everyone that more people can go to work because more sectors of the economy would open.)

"Mahirap kasi kung magtataas ng alert level kasi lilimitahan natin iyong magtatrabaho, lilimitahan natin iyong mga pagbubukas ng ekonomiya. Pero siguro naman kung reverse gaya nito na pagbaba, e wala pong mawawala kahit mabilisan iyong announcement na ginawa ng IATF dahil ito po ay mabuting balita," he added. 

(It's difficult to raise the alert level because we will limit the number of those going to work, the opening of the economy. But if it's the reverse, like lowering the alert, nothing would be lost even if the IATF hastened its announcement because this is good news.) 

Metro Manila's 13 million people were under Alert Level 3 for around 2 weeks before the curbs were eased, noted Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. 

"That's why it was already decided by the IATF that they can already be de-escalated," she said in the same briefing. 

Former COVID-19 National Task Force adviser Dr. Tony Leachon, meanwhile, said in a Teleradyo interview Friday he was surprised over the sudden downgrade in alert levels. 

Leachon said he expected it to be implemented mid-November, as the government had already announced that the capital region will remain under Alert Level 3 until then. 

"Nakakagulat dapat sana umaga para man lang ma-prepare over the weekend at sana sa Monday nila i-implement," Leachon said. 

(It was surprising. They should've just announced it this morning and allowed [authorities] to prepare over the weekend. It should've been implemented on Monday.) 

He stressed that LGUs should be given ample time to prepare and inform the public about the change in alert levels.