The Metro Manila Council’s unanimous vote to recommend the region’s shift to a less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) was made with both the economy and public health in mind, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Jojo Garcia said on Wednesday.

“Sabi nga ng mga mayors natin, noong una, there is no such thing as a perfect decision here, ‘cause we really need to balance economy and health. So I think itong pag-shift natin ng GCQ if ever po iyan ang desisyon ng ating IATF, will be a good start to jumpstart also our economy,” he said during the Laging Handa briefing.

Even if the region makes the shift to GCQ, mayors may still implement barangay or zone-wide lockdowns, which will allow areas with less significant numbers of Covid-19 cases to restart economically.

“[Bi]bigyan din ng authority ang ating mga mayors with the help of the health experts na puwede silang mag-lockdown ng mga barangay or zone if ever na makita po nila na mataas ang cases ng COVID and then to free up iyong other barangays para at least naman po masimulan na rin iyong ekonomiya doon.” Garcia explained.

He said the 17 mayors would be “100-percent ready” to accept and enforce whatever the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Metro Manila has been under modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since May 16, after a two-month ECQ.

As of May 26, Metro Manila accounted for 9,481 Covid-19 cases, or 64 percent of the total. John Ezekiel J.Hirro