Majority of the Metro Manila mayors want a gradual and careful re-opening of the economy, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro said Thursday.

In this photo taken on September 19, 2020, people wearing face shields queue up at a public market in Manila. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, Teodoro said most Metro mayors are still wary about the easing of restrictions for the entire country by March 1 as proposed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) met Wednesday night to discuss the proposal, along with other matters such as the re-opening of cinemas and the lowering of age requirement for persons allowed outside of their residences.

“Di ito kailangan biglaan. Kumbaga, easy lang tayo. Kailangan gradual ang pagbubukas at meron tayong consistent health protocols na magtitiyak na yung pagbaba ng kaso ng COVID-19 ay mapapanatili dahil may mga research tayong nakikita at mga pangyayari, mga datos na galing sa mga LGUs (local government units) na nagkakaroon ng muling pagtaas kung di nagiging maingat tayo (We don’t need to rush. Let’s take it easy. We should gradually open [the economy] and there should be consistent health protocols in place to make sure that we will be able to maintain the low number of COVID-19 cases because there have been researches, instances, data from LGUs, which showed that there can be an uptick in cases if we’re not careful),” Teodoro said.

Teodoro also suggested making daily wage earners a priority in the vaccination program if the government decides to re-open the economy by further relaxing the quarantine level to the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) by March.

Expansion of public transportation routes should also be done, he added.

“Dagdagan ‘yang mga nagbibiyahe na pampublikong sasakyan para kung sa ganon, kung may mga papasok na mangagawa, lalabas na mga bata kung magkaroon ng limited face-to-face [classes] at meron silang safe public transport system (Allow more public vehicles to operate so that when workers return, as well as children if ever there will be a limited face-to-face [classes], at least, they will have a safe public transport system),” he said.

The Marikina mayor underscored that there should be a “support mechanism” in place before the country relaxes its restrictions.

Teodoro said while Metro Manila mayors are “in agreement” with NEDA’s reasons for re-opening the economy, they believe that economic concerns and health concerns should be balanced.

“Magusap ‘yung mga eksperto dito. Magkaroon ng rekomendasyon sila at tingnan ang kapasidad ng mga LGUs to enforce guidelines and protocols na manggagaling sa IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] (The experts should discuss this matter. They should come up with a recommendation and look into the capacity of the LGU to enforce guidelines and protocols coming from the IATF),” he said.

On the matter of allowing five to 70-year-olds outside of residences, Teodoro said the Metro Manila mayors are against it.

Teodoro said the mayors saw no need to lower the age restrictions and warned that children aged five might be “super spreaders.”

Metro Manila mayors, he said, will still have consensus-building sessions in the next two days and will submit their recommendations to the IATF.

Source: Manila Bulletin (