Iloilo City will request for general community quarantine (GCQ) status instead of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) extension despite the city’s increasing cases of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19.
Mayor Jerry P. Treñas said this will give way to non-essential establishments to reopen so their workers, who have been complaining about having no income, can go back to work.
“I have heard the cry of our small business owners, and I understand that people are starving, so despite our increasing cases, we will open establishments but continue to be strict with the compliance of the protocols,” said Treñas.
Aside from strict implementation of COVID-19 protocols, the city mayor said business establishments will reopen up to 30 percent capacity only starting tomorrow, June 16.
The city was placed under MECQ until June 15. Treñas’ request for GCQ status is still subject to the approval of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
The city mayor came up with the decision after his meeting with the Iloilo City COVID Team and the business sector.
He underscored that the pandemic did not just affect the health of the Ilonggos but also the local economy.
“Our hospitals, quarantine facilities, frontliners, and resources are overwhelmed. We are hoping that everyone will comply with the policies for the safety of all,” Treñas added.
Treñas initially decided to request for MECQ extension for another 15 days due to the continuously increasing COVID-19 cases in the city.
“Many are already affected and need to work. We cannot sustain them with food assistance. We cannot allow this to go on. Many are complaining they have no work, no income and no food,” Treñas lamented.
Meanwhile, the city’s business sector made an urgent appeal to IATF chairperson and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and IATF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. for more vaccines for the city and province of Iloilo.
In its letter, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI)-Iloilo Chapter Inc., through its president Atty. Joebert Peñaflorida and chairman Sandra Gomez, emphasized that the present surge in COVID-19 cases in Western Visayas highlights the urgent need for more intensive vaccination effort.
“As Iloilo City and Iloilo Province serve as the center of economic and political activities in Region 6, their critical role in balancing the health and economic well-being in the region cannot be overemphasized,” PCCI’s appeal read.
Iloilo City, based on the DOH-6 COVID Case Bulletin yesterday, topped among provinces and highly urbanized cities in Western Visayas with highest active COVID-19 cases at 2,734 while Iloilo province ranked third with 2,377 active cases. (Glenda Tayona)/WDJ