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Lopez pushes MGCQ shift

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez supported the downgrading of the general community quarantine (GCQ) currently in force over Metro Manila to a relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), emphasizing that minimum health standards should always be in place.

In a speech during the Bayanihan: Rebuild Industries and Save Jobs program, Lopez said Metro Manila and neighboring provinces can now move to MGCQ to “further revive and revitalize the economy.”

“I have been pushing for an early reopening, I think since June-July, and right now we even say that it’s okay to move into MGCQ. In moving to MGCQ, that does not mean that we will remove all the minimum health standards. That is a misconception. Everything else stays the same,” according to Lopez.

The DTI chief emphasized that moving to MGCQ will still require the Inter-Agency Task Force to do the enforcement, isolating the positives, tracing, isolation, testing and treatment.

No big changes

“It’s still the same. Symptomatics should stay indoors. Everyone will still wear masks and face shields. Business is the same. Disinfection, verification, all of that will be the same, even under MGCQ. What I’m saying is that it is the “new normal,” Lopez added.

He relayed that the only difference during MGCQ is that the government will be able to bring back more jobs, more workers, more sectors and the remaining sectors that are still closed.

“In our estimate, we still have 10 percent of unemployment or 4.4 million who are jobless. So the DTI and BoI (Board of Investments) are really pushing for an MGCQ or whatever level, as long as we keep the minimum health standards as the “new normal” and the transmission will be controlled,” Lopez noted.

Decision time tomorrow

He noted the fallacy of being in the MGCQ would mean looser health standard that will bring people to a more dangerous situation.

He said that by now, people have already adjusted and have learned to live with the virus, and even danced with it.

“We have learned to dance with the virus. Move back, move, forward, move back if needed. We’re not worried about transmission because it’s the same enforcement that we will maintain. I just want to emphasize that,” Lopez said.

The country has been in the GCQ status since 1 September and will lapse on 30 September.

Metro Manila mayors will decide on Sunday, 27 September, whether to maintain the general community quarantine or downgrade the status to modified GCQ, according to Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez Wednesday, 23 September.

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