IATF mulls GCQ extension in Metro Manila until yearend

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) – October 19, 2020 – 6:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — While the government is gradually reopening the pandemic-hit economy, there is an emerging consensus among officials to extend the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila until December, Malacañang said Monday.

Under GCQ, most industries can operate partially but restrictions against gatherings remain in place. Metro Manila, the Philippines, economic center, has been under GCQ since the second week of August. The capital region, which accounts for more than a third of the Philippine economy, will be under the quarantine classification until the end of the month. 
 
Metro Manila mayors have recommended the placing of the capital region under GCQ until the end of the year, noting that protocols on economic activity can be relaxed without downgrading the quarantine classification. 

“Well, iyan po ang parang nabubuong consensus pero siyempre po hindi ko pupuwedeng pangunahan ‘no (That’s the emerging consensus but I do not want to preempt it because it is a collegial decision),” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when asked about the proposal to keep Metro Manila under GCQ until the end of 2020. 

“But what we are seeing right now is while Metro Manila is under GCQ, we have a wider reopening of industries and that is what we need because it’s part of our message to protect our lives so we can continue with our livelihood,” he added. 

Roque said the GCQ being implemented in Metro Manila is more lenient because of the move to increase the allowed capacities of businesses. The Palace spokesman, nevertheless, reiterated that it is possible for the capital region to be downgraded to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most lenient classification, wherein more businesses can operate at a much larger capacity. 

“Let’s see if it is possible, if the (COVID-19) numbers go down. We make decisions monthly and October has not yet ended. While we already have initial data, our experts are still studying them to determine the classifications for the month of November,” Roque, also the spokesman of the government’s pandemic task force, said. 

“So let us just continue wearing face masks, washing our hands, and observing physical distancing and I think anything is possible. But what is non-negotiable is we need to work regardless of the (quarantine) classification,” he added. 

Roque admitted that one of the reasons why the government’s pandemic task force is hesitant to talk about a downgrade to MGCQ is the possibility that people might be complacent with regard to health protocols. 

“That’s (possible complacence) part of it but I think the numbers are improving because our countrymen are following health protocols,” the Palace spokesman said. 

President Duterte is expected to announce the updated quarantine classifications before the end of the month.

As It Happens


LATEST UPDATE: October 19, 2020 – 8:55am

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila’s local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas


October 19, 2020 – 8:55am

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will raise the capacity at churches and other places of worship to 30% from 10% of seating capacity.

Moreno says in a report by Super Radyo dzBB, the increased seating capacity “on the premise that the leaders of the chruch will continue to practice simple protocol under the IATF rules.”


October 8, 2020 – 2:33pm

The city of Manila  prohibits the use of karaokes, videokes and other sound-producing devices that may disturb the community from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

The city council released the ordinance to support students studying from home.

Violators will be fined P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense and P3,000 for the third and succeeding offenses.


October 7, 2020 – 1:46pm

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has ordered the removal of fees from Automated Fare Collection System cards.

This comes within days of the Department of Transportation ordering the “No Beep card, no ride” policy on the EDSA Busway over the collection of P80 per card by service provider AF Payments Inc.

AF Payments had said the cards were being sold for zero profit and were partially subsidized.

The LTFRB says commuters will only have to pay for their fare and not the reloadable cards.


October 6, 2020 – 12:00pm

AF Payments Inc. will give away 125,000 Beep cards to the public for free, ONE News reports.

This comes after the Department of Transportation threatened to suspend the use of Beep cards on the EDSA Busway over an 80-peso fee that AFPI collects for the cards.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said the cards should be free.

ONE News reports said the cost of the cards, which AF Payments last week said is sold at zero profit and is already partially subsidized, will be shouldered by its shareholders “as well as donations from Ayala Infrastructure’s various business groups.” 


October 4, 2020 – 5:07pm

The Department of Transportation says it will suspend implementation of the Beep cards on public utility buses after implementing the project on October 1.

It said the suspension is because of “the refusal of AF Payments, Inc., the provider of the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) at the EDSA Busway, to waive the cost of the beep card despite consistent pleas made by the government.”

AF Payments this week said the cards are already sold at no profit and are partially subsidized,

“The EDSA Bus Consortia stated that they will look for another AFCS provider who can offer a better solution to the existing problem. Meeting with other AFCS providers is scheduled on Tuesday morning,” DOTr also said.



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