Metro Manila Mayors favors shift to GCQ

Metro Manila GCQThe Metro Manila Council (MMC) will recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the shifting of the National Capital Region to general community quarantine or GCQ by June 1 but restrictions and limitations will remain, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said all 17 mayors of Metro Manila have “unanimously” agreed to recommend placing Metro Manila to GCQ from modified enhanced community quarantine that will lapse on May 31.

“Unanimously, all NCR mayors are acceptable to the place Metro Manila under GCQ but still we will wait for the decision of the IATF. Whatever decision that they will do, definitely we will follow and all mayors will be ready,” said Garcia in a virtual presser Tuesday night following the teleconference MMC meeting with Metro Manila mayors and other member-agencies of the MMC, presided by MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim.

Garcia said the MMDA and MMC members have also agreed on the following:

* Imposition of lockdown Under the GCQ, local government units are still allowed to impose a lockdown on specific barangays if needed, particularly “problematic” areas with high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

* Mass transportation Mode of transportation in Metro Manila is only limited to company-provided shuttle services, point-to-point vehicles, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Services, and tricycles.

Public Utility Buses and jeepneys remain prohibited under GCQ for the safety of the commuters.

According to Garcia, enforcement of social distancing protocols is easy to manage with said vehicles unlike PUBs and jeepneys.

The MMDA also encourages the use of bicycles as alternative mode of transport.

Moreover, Garcia said the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board is doing a rationalization of bus route in the metropolis.

“Rationalized routes will replace old ones. Routes will be shortened to allow faster turnaround of buses,” said Garcia, noting 61 bus routes are traversing EDSA.

In line with this, putting up of footbridges and loading and unloading stations on strategic areas along EDSA is underway.

“This is the right time to change the behavior of the commuters. We need to change everything,” he said.

3 Implementation of modified number coding scheme Vehicles carrying more than one passenger, depending on the guidelines of the IATF, are allowed to ply the streets, exempted from the existing number coding scheme.

“This is for motorists to maximize the vehicle’s seating capacity,” said Garcia.

However, the MMDA to craft a resolution on this subject before its implementation. Under GCQ, Garcia said restrictions and other safety protocols in the “New Normal” such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks are remain enforced.

Garcia said Chairman Lim will discuss the MMC’s recommendation to the IATF. “The MMC and MMDA will respect whatever the IATF decides,” he said.

The MMC, comprised of the mayors of 16 cities and one municipality, is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA.