COVID-19 Crisis: MECQ in Metro Manila remains in effect until September 15 as GCQ gets deferred

Remember what happened this past August when general community quarantine (GCQ) for Metro Manila was announced only to be changed suddenly into the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)?

Such an unpleasant radical shift after making a big announcement of GCQ (September 8 to 30) struck again today as the national government clarified that Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community (MECQ) which will last until September 15, 2021.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The switch to a general community quarantine (GCQ) along with the pilot-testing of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila won’t push through on Sept. 8 after all.

This, as members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) appeared to struggle to come up with guidelines for the localized granular lockdowns a day before the scheduled implementation of the vaunted scheme Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“The [IATF] deferred the pilot implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Levels System in the National Capital Region (NCR),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement to Malacañang reporters early Tuesday evening.

Metro Manila’s current risk classification as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” he said.

In his virtual press briefing past noon Tuesday, Roque said he was instructed at the last minute not to discuss the guidelines of the granular lockdown pending additional inputs from local government units (LGUs).

An IATF meeting was held at 3 p.m. to supposedly iron out the remaining kinks of the pilot-testing, but it instead resulted to the postponement of not just the granular lockdowns but the downgrading of the quarantine classification in NCR from the current MECQ to GCQ.

Roque had earlier said that under rather granular lockdown set-up, the different LGUs in the metropolis would be placed under varying “alert levels”.

“Having said this (maintening MECQ classification), indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas shall remain prohibited,” Roque said in the same statement.

“Religious services, on the other hand, performed through online video recording and transmission shall be allowed,” he said.

So there you have it! The national authorities announced one thing and did something else. By this time, a lot of people have heard about the GCQ supposed to take effect today. What is frustrating apart from the flip-flop by the national authorities is that the affected businesses, the unemployed and the faithful who had been waiting to worship the Lord on-site in church venues have once again been put on-hold. In short, the frustration and long wait continues. With MECQ for Metro Manila extended, it’s time to focus on the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) proposal. It is also time to pray to our Lord to enlighten our government officials to do better and avoid making blunders at the expense of people.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you believe that the most recent GCQ announcement was badly done by the national authorities?

If you are a Metro Manila resident, do you trust your mayor or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) or the IATF when it comes to making big, sweeping decisions that affect you and your family? Have you prayed to the Lord to enlighten all the government and community leaders so that they can do their jobs better and rightfully?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.


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