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IATF mulls shortening Metro curfew

Alvin Murcia

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the proposal to shorten the curfew hours in Metro Manila will be tackled on Thursday by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

The justice chief said the meeting is intended to address the request of the mayors in Metro Manila to shorten the curfew hours from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. to accommodate the Simbang Gabi.

“The matter may be taken up at the next meeting of the IATF on Thursday. But in all likelihood, the lifting or shortening of curfews will be left to the discretion of the respective LGU (local government units), except Metro Manila where LGU officials normally act in unison,” Guevarra said.

Metro Manila Council and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez yesterday said curfew hours will be trimmed to 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., instead of the current 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. He added that Navotas City’s curfew will remain at 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Local ordinances on curfew hours according to Olivarez will be amended by the metro mayors within the week.

Olivarez said there is a need for a local ordnance to be amended just like in his turf, the local City Council will to it prior to the implementation.

During the meeting of Metro Manila mayors and several members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Sunday, Olivarez said the local executives contested the easing of quarantine age restrictions, which allows persons aged 15 to 65 to go out.

Only those between 18 to 65 years old can roam freely in the National Capital Region after the IATF approved the mayors’ appeal to impose a slightly tighter restriction.

“We don’t need local ordinance for age restrictions so it is ready for implementation,” the mayor said.

IATF Resolution 79, released on 16 October, stated LGU have the freedom to impose a higher age limit for minors.

The Duterte Cabinet previously appealed to LGU to shorten curfew hours to allow businesses to thrive.

Olivarez added they agreed in the meeting to increase church capacity from 10 percent to 30 percent.

Meanwhile, Guevarra said the increase in church capacity from 10 percent to 30 percent under GCQ was reportedly agreed upon by the Metro Manila mayors in their meeting Sunday.

Manila is set to increase the number of people religious places can accommodate to 30 percent of the venue’s total capacity, as the country continues to gradually ease measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno issued an executive order increasing the load capacity of churches.

Church leaders, however, have to ensure that health and safety protocols will be strictly observed.

Among the minimum protocols are the wearing of mask and face shield, and observance of physical distancing.

The Philippines has started gradually easing restriction caused by the pandemic in order to spur economic activities.

As of 18 October, the Philippines’ COVID-19 tally was at 356,618 after the Department of Health reported 2,379 new infections.

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