Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Wednesday that Metro Manila mayors will convene on Wednesday to assess if the country, particularly Metro Manila, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, is ready to be placed under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

ParaƱaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Olivarez, head of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), said he personally supports the proposal of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to ease the quarantine status in the country to MGCQ citing the need for the country to recover from huge economic losses.

He said the MMC still needs to convene to come up with a common decision.

He said downgrading the quarantine status in the country is justifiable especially since the economy is already suffering from big losses that cause poverty among Filipinos.

The mayor said the government must also balance the country’s economic recovery and the health of every Filipino.

“We don’t need to focus only on the health of every Filipinos but we also have to look at the economic recovery especially now that there is already a vaccine,” Olivarez said.

Even if the country’s quarantine status is downgraded to MGCQ, he said the health protocols must still be followed like the wearing of face masks, face shields, and observing physical distancing.

Acting NEDA chief Karl Kendrick Chua proposed the downgrading of the country’s community status during a televised meeting with President Duterte and other government officials on Monday.

Chua said the strict implementation of restrictions since March last year has led to a significant decline or total income loss among Filipinos.

He added that further extending the lockdown would only worsen hunger and poverty in the country.

Chua said the government can instead implement localized lockdowns at the barangay or municipal level to address the local spread of COVID-19.

Source: Manila Bulletin (