Palace appeals for understanding following aborted return to GCQ in NCR

Malacanang on Friday appealed for understanding after Metro Manila’s planned return to looser COVID-19 restrictions this week was abruptly canceled.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the COVID-19 task force deferred the plan to impose a general community quarantine (GCQ) with an alert level system because the body had yet to decide on the alert status for the region.

The task force also had not resolved the request of the private sector to extend privileges to fully vaccinated individuals.

“All I can say is that the debates are continuing and we’re aiming to provide the best alternative to a hard lockdown. Hindi po madaling proseso iyon. Humihingi po kami ng pag-intindi galing po sa publiko (It’s not an easy process. We ask for the public’s understanding),” Roque told a news conference when asked if the public deserved an apology from the government over the confusion.

“Alam ko po hindi dapat nagfi-flipflop dahil kinakailangan ng predictability (I know that there should be no flip-flopping because predictability is important).”

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, earlier criticized the government for its last-minute change of mind and keeping Metro Manila under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“Authorities must be prudent in prematurely announcing half-studied policies or policy shifts as they have a tremendous impact on business operations and people’s daily lives,” PCCI acting president Edgardo Lacson said in a statement on Wednesday when the National Capital Region was supposed to shift to a GCQ with an alert level system.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) “swiftly” came up with the decision despite the upward trajectory of COVID-19 cases.

Roque announced during the briefing that the new policy would be implemented for two weeks beginning September 16. — DVM, GMA News

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