Cebu City backtracks, appeals MECQ status

Art Lubiano

LOCKDOWN. Police man checkpoint in Cebu City in this 2020 file photo. Rappler

After initially saying the city would not contest its new quarantine status, acting Mayor Michael Rama changes his mind

The Cebu City government has backtracked from its previous stand of accepting the city’s modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status by filing an appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Saturday, July 31, to maintain its previous modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.

“Being the center of trade, commerce, and industry in the Visayas and Mindanao, it may not be handy to disturb its recovering economy which supported not only the city and its constituents but the entire region outside of Luzon,” a letter from Cebu City to the IATF read.

The heightened classification set to take effect from August 1 to 15 came after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 32 more cases of the Delta variant in Central Visayas, the region that includes Cebu.

This is the first time Cebu City will revert to MECQ, the second-strictest quarantine status, since July 2020.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier said the new classification is “subject to further appeals by their local government units.”

Cebu City acting mayor Michael Rama initially said he would not appeal to the IATF on its decision. A day later, however, Rama signed the letter of appeal to the IATF.

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“The people of Cebu City have been in the worst and have proven to be responsible citizens of this country,” the letter read.

Cebu City reported 297 new cases on Saturday evening, July 31, with 2,688 active cases out of 29,749 total cases. The city has a total of 922 deaths and 26,139 recoveries since the pandemic began.

According to a report by OCTA research, Cebu City was the LGU with the most number of new daily reported cases for the last week of July. –