The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 said the decision to postpone the implementation of the new lockdown system in Metro Manila was due to the delay in the issuance of a comprehensive guideline amid questions raised by mayors.
NTF Spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr. said in the Sept. 8 Laging Handa briefing that the prepared guidelines have to be expanded to cover the clarifications and concerns of Metro Manila Mayors whom they met with on Sept. 7.
“Iyong rollout ng pilot quarantine na ito ay madi-delay nang kaunti hangga’t hindi pa po naihahanda at naidi-disseminate iyong mga guidelines na tinutukoy natin,” he said.
He said among the factors for the postponement was the request of some health workers to delay the new quarantine classification. However, he said the expansion of guidelines is the biggest consideration for the decision.
“Maaaring may mga lumabas na katanungan at mga point of clarification na kinakailangang suriing mabuti at ayusin pa kaya hindi po ini-rollout ito,” he said.
“So hindi naman na po tatagal ito [modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ], hanggang kalagitnaan na lang po ng buwan or earlier kung lumabas na po iyong mga guidelines at mai-cascade na po,” he added.
The official said the reversion decision on the new lockdown system under general community quarantine must be viewed “in a positive light,” and be considered a “lesson learned.”
“Sa susunod po siguro, bilang lesson learned ng pamahalaan ay kinakailangan talaga na nakahanda lahat ng guidelines bago magkaroon ng anunsiyo,” he said.
The national government announced on Monday (Sept. 6) that Metro Manila will shift to general community quarantine to pilot test prioritization of granular lockdowns starting Sept. 8.
However, it announced on Tuesday evening (Sept. 7) that the MECQ in the region, which should have expired on the said day, will be extended until Sept. 15.
The MECQ extension will continue the ban on the operations of personal care services and al fresco dining. – jlo