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A TOP Cabinet official said it is up to the local government units (LGUs) under general community quarantine (GCQ) status whether they will follow or not the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) regarding kids aged five and above when going outdoors.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in an interview over the radio that the LGUs are empowered under the Local Government Code to raise the age limit in their respective areas — “We are giving authority to the LGUs if they feel they are not ready to lower the age limit to five or for whatever reason, they are very protective, they can decide the age restrictions,” Nograles said.

In its resolution, the IATF said that children can now go to parks, playgrounds, outdoor tourist sites, outdoor non-contact sports courts, or dine with their parents or guardians in an open-air restaurant. However, the resolution emphasized that kids are still not allowed to enter malls.

Nograles added that the decision of the IATF was based on the recommendation of child experts who said that children aged five and above can follow health protocols with the supervision of their parents.

According to our experts, our pediatrician, children aged five can wear masks and can be assigned with responsibility provided there is adult supervision,” averred Nograles, who went on to underscore the need to observe social distancing during outdoor activities.

We should not allow the child to play with other children without following physical distancing,” he added.

He, however, reminded that children are not yet allowed to leave their respective homes in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions like Cavite and Laguna.

He also cited the need for Metro Manila mayors to follow a uniform protocol on allowing children to go out as there was no opposition raised during the IATF meeting with their representatives.

The good thing with Metro Manila mayors, they are under the supervision of the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), and based on their recent stand on issues, they have a uniform position and we expect them to follow the latest IATF ruling,” Nograles quipped.

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