Metro Manila mayors to be consulted in push to ease age restrictions – DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 22) — As the national government moved to ease age restrictions even in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health assured on Friday that local chief executives of Metro Manila and other places under general community quarantine will be consulted before implementing any major changes.

The Inter-Agency Task Force, starting Feb. 1, is allowing those aged 10-15 to go out in public places for non-essential travel if they are in areas under modified general community quarantine. The task force also "enjoined" local government units in GCQ areas to adopt the same relaxation of rules.

READ MORE: IATF allows 10-14-year-old children to go out beginning Feb. 1

DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the rule cannot be changed without consulting Metro Manila mayors since the region is the COVID-19 epicenter in the country. She said the decision to ease restrictions came from the suggestion of economic managers to help the country's economy to recover.

"Magkakaroon ng pag-uusap among the Metro Manila mayors because as we know, the situation here is different at epicenter tayo. Kakausapin muna sila bago tayo magpatupad dito sa Metro Manila kung sakaling papayag sila," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: There will be a discussion among Metro Manila mayors because the situation here is different and it is the epicenter. We will talk to them before we implement it if they agree.]

She added the local chief executives of other areas under GCQ will be consulted too.

Several mayors in the National Capital Region said they will seek the advice of medical experts, which will be discussed during their meeting.

Last December, the 17 Metro Manila mayors unanimously decided to prohibit children from entering shopping malls following the recommendation of health experts. This came after the suggestion of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to allow those under 18 years old to wander in malls to celebrate the Christmas season.