GCQ likely for Metro Manila after May 15 – DILG

MANILA, Philippines, May 4 ------ The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday expressed optimism that Metro Manila would be able to shift to a more lenient general community quarantine or GCQ after May 15. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases is seeing good indicators that could merit the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in many parts of Metro Manila, according to DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. “It looks like Metro Manila will graduate from ECQ by May 15. Of course, matagal-tagal pa ’yan, that’s two weeks from now. But by all indications, mukha pong we will shift to GCQ,” Malaya said in an interview on dzBB. He said the government is taking into consideration critical health care infrastructure, number of cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 and expanded COVID-19 testing facilities to see if the National Capital Region would be eligible for a GCQ. Malaya, however, said the ECQ would still be implemented in some areas, including portions of Quezon City and Manila, where certain areas have been placed under “hard lockdown.” In terms of social amelioration program, Malaya said close to 70 percent of local government units (LGUs) have acomplied and distributed cash assistance to their constituents as of yesterday. Malaya said local executives in the metropolis are having a harder time in distributing cash subsidy due to larger population in some localities. He assured qualified residents that LGUs are working double time to distribute the assistance, which has a deadline of May 7. Gains in the pandemic have been uneven in Metro Manila. Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela, for example, has said his city is ready for the lifting of the ECQ, but he stressed that he would abide by decisions of the national government. On the other hand, Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan has said his city, where the first case of local COVID transmission was reported, might not be ready by May 15, and he might seek an extension of the ECQ. Mayor Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina is finally getting the city’s COVID testing center operational, significantly boosting their capability for testing using the “gold standard” whose results need no further validation by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Marikina uses testing kits developed by the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health. Marikina could be ready to shift to GCQ after May 15. Source: philstar.com