COVID-19 Crisis: Metro Manila mayors to recommend adjustment to Alert Level 1 status starting March 1, 2022

Thanks to the Lord who listens to the prayers of the faithful, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases kept falling down nationwide for the past few weeks and there are signs of stronger economic activities along the way. It should be noted that more people from overseas arrived in the country.

With regards to Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR), the mayors of the many cities of the metropolis came to an agreement to recommend to the higher authorities the shift of control from the current Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 which should take effect on March 1, 2022, according to a GMA News report. Before the news broke out, Muntinlupa City mayor Jaime Fresnedi confirmed he voted for the shift to Alert Level 1.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA News report. Some parts in boldface…

Mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) have agreed to recommend the de-escalation of the region to Alert Level 1 from Alert Level 2 starting March 1, 2022, the head of the Metro Manila Council said on Wednesday.

“Downgrade to Alert Level 1 starting March 1,” Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told GMA News Online in a text message when asked about the recommendation of the council following their meeting Tuesday night.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB on Tuesday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officer-in-charge and general manager Romando Artes said the local government units (LGUs) in the NCR are ready to shift to Alert Level 1.

Artes said the NCR has been successful in implementing COVID-19 response programs.

Also on Tuesday, independent monitoring group OCTA Research said the positivity rate in the NCR has decreased to 4.9%, lower than the recommended 5% of the World Health Organization.

According to OCTA, this is the first time the positivity rate in the NCR decreased to less than 5% since December 26, 2021 prior to the COVID-19 surge caused by the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Once it takes effect, Alert Level 1 will pave the way for businesses to operate better which will translate into new job openings that the unemployed badly need. Businesses that cater to customers with their physical presence involved should be allowed to serve them in higher numbers than before. It could also mean local cinemas should be allowed to allocated even more seats for moviegoers. Families should be allowed to bring their children to more places outside their homes as well. Churches should be allowed to accommodate even more people to worship the Lord on Sundays. Along the way, COVID-19 vaccination operations continue to happen and as of this writing, almost ten million people here in the Philippines have received their respective booster shots.

When it comes to the unvaccinated who remain restricted until now, Alert Level 1 means liberty for them.  In the city of Parañaque, unvaccinated people are still restricted because there is no lifting of restrictions within the city even under Alert Level 2. Parañaque is one of four local government units (LGUs) where the unvaccinated remained restricted under Alert Level 2 and they are the only city in South Metro Manila to be so.

While Alert Level 1 is liberating, I urge all the people in the Philippines reading this to keep following health protocols. If you are still unvaccinated, I encourage you to get vaccinated for your health, your safety and for the good of the country. From this point on, we will see how the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will respond to the Metro Manila Council’s (MMC) recommendation. Literally, the ball is now in the IATF’s side of the court.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this recent news report? Do you believe that March 1, 2022 is the right time to start the implementation of Alert Level 1 all over Metro Manila? Do you believe that there are enough people who got vaccinated or boosted nationwide? Do you believe that the highly infectious Omicron variant is no longer a major problem?

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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