COVID-19 Crisis: Guidelines on localized lockdowns in NCR ‘provisionally’ approved by IATF

Are you still disappointed over the extended MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila which was the result of the recent flip-flop by the national authorities? You definitely are not alone as Marikina City’s mayor spoke out against the national government for their flip-flop and the Metro Manila mayors plus the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) issued a resolution urging Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider easing the COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The current MECQ will last until September 15 and we should not be surprised to see changes happening on the 16th as the IATF “provisionally” approved guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Speaking of granular lockdown, take note what happened in a certain locked down residential community in Parañaque City.

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

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has “provisionally” approved the guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) policy shift would only impose either the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the general community quarantine (GCQ) with four alert levels in Metro Manila.

“Sang-ayon po dito sa policy shift na gagawin natin, dalawa na lang ang quarantine classifications. Ito po ang ECQ na ipapataw ng IATF o ‘di naman kaya ay GCQ (Based on the policy shift that we will carry out, there will only be two quarantine classifications. These are the ECQ that will be imposed by the IATF or the GCQ),” Roque said in a virtual presser.

He said the localized lockdown that would be pilot-tested in Metro Manila has four levels.

The IATF-EID is still ironing out the details on the implementation of alert level 4, the strictest level, Roque said.

Roque said all areas that would be placed under an alert level system should follow the protocols that are consistent with their alert levels and issued by the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19.

The classification of pilot areas and their alert levels will also be done weekly, unless otherwise specified, he added.

“Lahat po ng areas ay magpapatupad po ng granular lockdowns, sang-ayon po sa guidelines ng NTF. Ang pagkakaiba po nito, itong lockdowns na ito ay mas strikto (All areas will implement granular lockdowns, based on the guidelines of the NTF. The difference is these lockdowns are stricter),” Roque said.

With the implementation of stricter granular lockdowns, health and allied health professionals are the only ones who will be considered Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), he said, noting that government workers in areas under localized lockdown would not be allowed to go out.

“‘Yun pong mga taong gobyerno ay hindi makakapagtrabaho kapag kayo po ay nasa ilalim ng localized lockdown. Hindi kayo pupuwedeng lumabas (Government workers will not be allowed to go out if their areas are under localized lockdown. They cannot go out),” Roque said.

He, however, assured that local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would provide assistance to households that might be affected by the implementation of granular lockdowns.

“Magbibigay na po ng ayuda ang lokal na pamahalaan at ang DSWD para po hindi na kinakailangang lumabas ng kahit na sino sa mga lugar na naka-granular lockdown (Local governments and the DSWD will give assistance so residents of areas under granular lockdown would no longer need to leave their homes),” he said.

Roque did not mention when the pilot implementation of localized lockdowns would commence.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the new guidelines for granular lockdown? Do you believe that the plan of using 4 alert levels for GCQ will cause a lot of confusion? Do you think that the national authorities will be able to finalize and issue the new guidelines before September 15?

How many people do you personally know lost their jobs because of the most recent flip-flop by the IATF resulting the extended MECQ? Do you believe that the IATF, the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA are paying sufficient attention to economic matters like job losses and the affected employees’ loss of income?

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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DILG: No local government unit fully compliant with road clearing operations yet.

In response to a certain city government’s claim that it has joined other cities on being 100% compliant with the national government order to clear roads of obstructions, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stated on September 13 that no local government unit (LGU) yet has been declared as fully compliant.

“We have not made any determination on which LGUs are fully compliant because the assessment of all LGUs will come after the 60-day deadline which will be on September 29, 2019,” DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya made the clarification in response to the claim made by the City Government of Makati that it has joined the cities of Marikina, Malabon, Navotas, Pasay, San Juan, Valenzuela and the municipality of Pateros, which earlier reports said are 100-percent compliant with the campaign to clear roads of obstructions, ahead of the 60-day deadline imposed by the DILG.

Citing the department’s Memorandum Circular No. 121-2019, Undersecretary Malaya said full compliance with the order is not based on road clearing operations alone.

Malaya specified that in order for an LGU to be declared as fully compliant, it should enact or revisit ordinances that are related to road clearing, the banning of illegal construction, preparing an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction, implementing displacement strategies and the like.

He added that compliance reports on the matter submitted by LGUs to the DILG regional offices and its Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) are still subject to validation.

Speaking of validation with regards to South Metro Manila, the City Government of Las Piñas claimed on its September 13, 2019 Facebook page post that the DILG “has validated the 100% completion of the clearing operations weeks ahead of the scheduled deadline on September 29,” in relation to DILG Undersecretary RJ Echiverri’s very recent visit and inspection of the result of the local clearing operation which involved the presence of Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar and other city officials.

Excerpt from the City Government of Las Piñas Facebook page post:

The ocular inspection validated the report of Mayor Mel Aguilar and the city government’s Task Force Kaayusan. DILG has validated the 100% completion of the clearing operations weeks ahead of the scheduled deadline on September 29.

Undersecretary Echiverri gave positive comments about the result of the clearing operations in Las Piñas.

Now if only the DILG itself will react to the Facebook claim of the City Government of Las Piñas.

If anything comes up, it will be posted here.