A uniform and longer curfew hours will be imposed starting next week
This was the consensus of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of National Capital Region (NCR) mayors and national government officials, in a meeting yesterday.
The uniform curfew hours, which will be from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., was agreed upon by the mayors as their response to the surge of COVID-19 infections in the region, according to Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos.
The curfew will take effect for two weeks in the NCR.
Abalos said a “resolution is being drafted and will be signed by all mayors. This will only be for two weeks. Kung ito ay may improvement, maaaring tanggalin na po ito (if there will be improvement, we may remove this).”
Essential workers, including those working for restaurants or food delivery services, will still be allowed outside during curfew hours but must present their work identification card or certificate.
According to Abalos, the mayors came up with the decision after they were warned by health experts from the Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team warned of the “alarming” spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
Abalos said that according to the UP OCTA Research team, new cases per day from February 4 to 10 was at 360 but from that number, it jumped to 1,411 in the NCR from March 4 to 10. “According to their figures, from 8 percent of new cases, it reached 60 percent from March 4 to 10. The numbers are quite alarming as far as NCR mayors are concerned,” Abalos said.
The MMC also announced that aside from the curfew, it will intensify COVID-19 testify, contact tracing, and quarantine efforts.
COVID-19 testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon, with the help of the Philippine Red Cross, donated 25,000 testing kits, adds Abalos.
The MMDA will also deploy 300 contact tracers to various local government units (LGU) in the NCR, aside from the 360 contact tracers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), to help intensify contact-tracing efforts.
So-called “granular lockdowns,” or lockdowns in smaller areas like streets or barangays with high numbers of infections, will also be implemented.
Minimum public health standards will be strictly enforced in barangays by barangay officials and the police, taking note that many have started to be complacent and lax in the proper wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing, in light of the presence of COVID-19 variants such as the more infectious UK and South African variants.
But even if uniform curfew will be implemented, Abalos said sanctions may vary depending on each LGU’s ordinance.