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Metro Manila mayors OK more kid zones

Metro Manila mayors have passed a resolution urging local governments in the region to issue orders that will affirm the government’s latest policy allowing children aged 5 and older to go outdoors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The resolution, unanimously approved by all local chief executives of Metro Manila on Wednesday, applies to areas considered as “child-friendly” or are not under heightened restrictions.

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Under Resolution No. 21-11 Series of 2021, local mayors should make a list of allowable outdoor areas or parks, with the latter defined as alfresco areas with proper ventilation; impose a 50-percent limit in the venue capacity in order to avoid overcrowding; deploy marshals to privately owned outdoor areas or parks to ensure compliance with the minimum public health standards and protocols; and to ensure that minors are accompanied by adults in these areas.

Local governments may impose other reasonable conditions “to ensure the promotion and protection of the welfare of the minors.”

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“With reference to the children below 18 years of age, it should be clear whether they should be accompanied by adults. There should be marshals to monitor certain limits,” said Metro Manila Development Authority chief Benhur Abalos, also the concurrent chair of the Metro Manila Council.

Speaking at the televised Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday, Abalos said the Metro Manila Council unanimously agreed that “the ground and open-areas outside the mall proper could be considered as parks, one of the child safety zones” that the government’s pandemic task force said children aged 5 to 18 would be allowed to go to as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

“Since Metro Manila does not have a lot parks, like Luneta (Manila’s Rizal Park), we deemed it better to define a park as anything that has no roof, alfresco, where the air flow is continuous, even if there are walls, and outside the mall, like the ones we see at Trinoma [in Quezon City] and Bonifacio Global City [in Taguig City],“ Abalos said.

Crowd-control

He said open areas, whether publicly or privately owned, must adhere to the 50-percent minimum capacity regulation.

Marshals should also be designated to control crowds and implement health protocols such as the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Adults accompanying the minors should also be present at all times so that the children would not stray, he said.

Another guest in the program, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, said allowing children to go out to exercise and play would also be beneficial to their mental health, adding that she had received from the city police reports of suicide among minors who reportedly suffered depression due months of home confinement.

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She said private owners of open spaces must apply with City Hall before being allowed to become “child-friendly safe zones.”

On July 8, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 125 Series of 2021 allowing children 5 years old and older to go to outdoor areas under GCQ and MGCQ, except those under heightened restrictions, subject to the observance of minimum public health standards.

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TAGS: Children, GCQ, Kids, Metro Manila, outdoors, outside, restrictions
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