MMDA: Metro Manila mayors push for gradual reopening of economy

By Jimmyley E. Guzman

PASIG CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today said the Metro Manila mayors support the reopening of the economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but want it “gradually.”

“There should be a calibration of both the health and the economic teams with the local government units and all affected sectors,” said MMDA Chairperson Benhur Abalos, in a press briefing held in MMDA in Makati City.

“We are one with the economic team in the reopening of business activities but we cannot do it hastily. It should be gradual. We need to help each other here,” Abalos added.

According to the MMDA Chairman, the Metro Manila mayors, which compose the Metro Manila Council, have one voice in the fight against COVID-19.

“If you open the economy, we also need to factor in safeguards. It is a big challenge for the government to help the economy going while keeping the people safe and healthy. The Metro Manila mayors play a big role in this issue,” said Abalos. “What is important is we act as one. What is important is unity.”

Abalos said he is set to meet with the local chief executives of the National Capital Region (NCR) tonight.

We cannot allow the government’s gains in controlling the spread of the virus be put to waste. We must balance the economy and health for everyone’s safety,” he added.

At present, the Metro Manila mayors are crafting a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the planned resumption of the cinema operations in areas under the general community quarantine, he said.

“But whatever will be the final decision, we shall ask the Metro Manila mayors to prepare guidelines or the implementing rules and regulations (IRR),” the MMDA Chairman said. 

In the crafting of guidelines, factors to be considered are the observance of physical distancing, seating capacity of the cinemas, use of air-conditioned units, bringing in of food, temperature inside the cinema, contact tracing, etc.  

The MMC, the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA, is composed of the 17 mayors in Metro Manila and representatives from national government agencies. (PIA NCR)