IATF Oks request to put Cebu City under GCQ
CEBU CITY –– The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the request of City Mayor Edgardo Labella to downgrade the status of the City from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.
Cebu City will join other localities in Central Visayas, which will remain under GCQ until June 15.
The cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu as well as Cebu province, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor were supposed to shift to a less stringent modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as ordered by President Duterte last Thursday.
But the IATF decided to retain most of them under GCQ after taking into consideration the request of Labella.
In a radio interview on Saturday morning, Labella said Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the COVID-19 National Action Plan, told him that the IATF wanted a uniform category for Cebu island.
“GCQ is what fits Cebu City. A modified GCQ is too liberal. It’s too premature to place the city under modified GCQ,” Labella said.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, however, did not like the decision of IATF to extend the province’s status under GCQ.
She said Cebu province was ready to shift to MGCQ, the lowest form of community quarantine enforced by the government.
“This (GCQ) is not what the province intends to do. We cannot remain under GCQ. We should move on to the next level and beyond that because we’re ready for that,” Garcia said in a meeting with mayors of Cebu province at the Capitol on Saturday.
“We’re being manipulated to satisfy some sinister, greedy goal,” she added.
The governor met with the mayors of the different municipalities and cities in Cebu to prepare for MGCQ only to be informed that the province will remain under GCQ.
Garcia said she would send an appeal to the IATF to downgrade the province’s status to MGCQ.
In Resolution No. 41 dated May 29 but released on Saturday afternoon, the IATF directed the regional IATF to monitor the “health system performance, capacity, and strict compliance to surveillance, isolation and treatment protocols” of the different localities.
“Further, Cebu City shall submit their detailed plans on zoning for the city and priority barangays,” said the IATF order signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, IATF chairperson; and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, IATF co-chairperson.
Although Cebu City will be under GCQ starting Monday, Mayor Labella said some sitios would remain on lockdown due to the rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Under GCQ, several non-essential industries will be allowed to reopen.
Public transport will also be allowed to resume operations at a reduced capacity to ensure proper social distancing.
Non-contact sports such as tennis, golf, and biking, as well as limited outdoor exercise such as walking, jogging, biking with safety protocols, will be allowed.
Religious gatherings are permitted, but there must be no more than 10 attendees only.
Labella reminded the people to continue following the health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Were still under a pandemic. We’re slowly opening up businesses so that our people will not die of hunger. We have to discipline ourselves and do what we ought to do not only for ourselves but for our loved ones as well,” he said.
“We can never be complacent as long as there is no vaccine. We have to live with the virus,” he added.
Felix Taguiam, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said businessmen are inching their way to a potential reopening of their establishments.
“For us in the business sector, any kind of quarantine is all right as long as we will be allowed to resume operations even at 50 percent only. That would be very good in the meantime. Just don’t continue the ECQ because many business are suffering much,” he told the INQUIRER over the phone.